D–day delay for traveller family

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Gypsies and residents alike have been left to wait with baited breath over Christmas to find out where a permanent traveller site will be.

Members of Derbyshire Dales District Council’s Corporate Committee chose to delay the decision of where to put the traveller site until the new year, insisting they needed more time to mull over it.

Hours before the meeting in which councillors were due to pick a preferred site for the Gypsy family, Derbyshire County Council presented the district council will a list of more potential sites.

Cllr Irene Ratcliffe, who proposed the deferral of the decision, said she felt uncomfortable making the choice without having seen all the sites available.

“I just feel that we need to know what all the sites are,” she stressed.

Leader of the council, Lewis Rose, agreed that more information was needed.

“We need these site to be evaluated and brought back here,” he added.

“I don’t think there should be any planning application made about any traveller’s site yet.”

Initially 12 sites had been proposed for the Gypsy family throughout the Dales. However after evaluation, council officers singled out three sites as being the most suitable – land off Harrison Way, behind the Shalimar restaurant, The Wood Yard, Homesford, and land off Mayfield Road, Ashbourne.

Cllr Rose explained the council had a legal obligation to find a site for the travelling family, despite the fact they have turned down the option of a house.

Members of the public flooded the meeting, eager to say their piece against a potential site on their doorstep.

The family itself previously stated it wanted to go to Ashbourne, however with its fate still hanging in the balance, it will be remaining at its current site at the Agricultural Business Centre, in Bakewell, for the foreseeable future.

The council’s Corporate Committee will hold a special meeting to discuss all the available sites on January 22.