Negotiations could start on permanent Dales gypsy site

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A planning application could soon be submitted for a permanent Dales traveller site, if councillors give the go-ahead.

Derbyshire Dales District Council’s Corporate Committee will today (Thursday) vote on whether to submit an application for the Wood Yard, in Homesford.

Councillors could also approve price negotiations to take place with landowners Paul and Andrea Hodgkinson.

The committee will hear that any contract to buy the land should be dependent on a successful planning application – and further public consultation will take place before planning permission can be considered.

But landowners Paul and Andrea Hodgkinson believe that this is yet another stalling technique by the district council to avoid costly fines if they are not seen to be actively pursuing a permanent site for a travelling family in need.

Mr Hodgkinson said: “We have had three previous dates when the council were supposed to make us an offer – none of which have come to fruition.

“They need to make us a genuine offer or let us get on with our lives and sell the land privately.”

But a council spokesman insisted that they had made it “abundantly clear” that the authority was“not prepared to risk council tax payers’ money” by making an offer without planning consent.

Meanwhile, after officers were instructed in July to continue to explore possible alternative sites, four more have been identified at Bolehill, Turnditch, Bakewell and Hulland Ward. This week’s meeting will be asked to decide on the validity of the four sites.