Derbyshire Dales MP backs Stanton residents in call for road closures to manage summer solstice crowds
Derbyshire Dales MP Sarah Dines has reiterated calls to close roads around Stanton in Peak for the summer solstice, as the village braces itself for an influx of celebratory crowds.
Every year, thousands of modern pagans and other visitors flock to the Bronze Age Nine Ladies stone circle, on Stanton Moor, to mark the celestial occasion, which falls on Monday, June 21.
But their arrival is contentious for residents, who say that they are left facing parking issues, anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.
Ms Dines said: “The visitors to Stanton in Peak during the summer solstice is not a new occurrence. I can understand why people want to visit them, and that for some they are a place of significant spiritual importance, especially at the summer solstice.”
“Unfortunately, not everyone who visits the site during the solstice is respectful of the historical importance or mindful of the impact their stay may have on residents.”
She added: “It is illegal to camp on the site, yet every year many travel great distances to illegally camp on the moor, having fires and unfortunately causing noise, disturbance and parking issues.
“Residents have told me of inconsiderate and illegal parking, meaning emergency vehicles struggle to reach them, as well as visitors using their gardens as toilets which just isn’t acceptable.”
In 2020, police permitted a socially-distanced solstice gathering and in March, Ms Dines met with parish, district and county councillors and other local officials to begin preparations for this year – although no residents were involved.
She said: “I was pleased to see that the police would be focussing on keeping local residents safe in the community. There is no doubt that this is an incredibly difficult site to manage and police.
“Although represented by councillors, it became clear to me, that no one had gone directly to all residents of the area to ask them what they would like to see done.
She added: “I undertook an extensive survey and the majority requested an increase in police presence and for road closures to take place during the event.
“I have written to the steering group insisting that residents voices are heard and taken into account. I cannot stress enough how vital it is that residents voices are heard on this matter.”