Homeless Gypsies move to a new site

A family of Gypsies has moved once more from one Dales car park to another.

The family left the site they were occupying at Bakewell Showground on Sunday and moved to a car park at Temple Walk, Matlock Bath.

They had moved to the showground site from a temporary site in Old Station Close, Rowsley, agreed upon with Derbyshire Dales District Council, claiming they had felt intimidated there.

The council has renounced its duty to provide them with a site, under the terms of the Housing Act 1996, which states that a local authority can discharge its duty to provide temporary and permanent accommodation if an applicant leaves suitable accommodation without giving reasonable grounds.

Representatives for the family have contested the decision and a review will now be carried out to determine whether the council still has a duty or not.

A spokesman for the authority said: “The district council has been actively seeking a permanent site for the family on the basis that ignoring its duty could result in costly legal action that would have to be borne by Derbyshire Dales council tax payers.”

On the basis that the council’s duty towards the family has been discharged, a permanent planning application for a site at Homesford wood yard was put on hold following a meeting of the council’s corporate committee on Monday.

Two other potential alternative permanent sites at Bolehill have also been rejected by the authority on the grounds that they are unsuitable.

The spokesman continued: “Two months ago the same committee instructed officers to agree a price for the wood yard site – with the proviso it could not exceed an independent valuation commissioned by the district council and that any contract to buy the land should be dependent on a successful planning application.”

Following this week’s meeting of the corporate committee, land negotiations will continue, however the landowners of the wood yard have challenged various aspects of the independent valuation.