Traveller sites decision for homeless family in Matlock delayed

A crucial decision affecting the livelihood of a family of homeless travellers –currently parked up at Matlock train station – has been delayed.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 12:13 pm
Matlock Train Station
Matlock Train Station

Derbyshire Dales District Council met in Wirksworth Leisure Centre to make a range of key decisions. However, after more than three hours of discussions on other topics, councillors ran out of their allowed time at the leisure centre before the security of a homeless traveller family and the future of controversial Ashbourne head sculpture could be debated.

This puts both issues in limbo, with councillors dismayed at the impact this will have on the vulnerable traveller family, in particular, with no allotted full council meeting until October.

The council had set up shop in the leisure centre because its Matlock HQ is not big enough to allow for social distancing and councils now have to hold meetings in person, as opposed to online, due to central government ceasing emergency legislation to allow for this.

Councils had been due to decide whether to make seven sites in the Dales “temporary tolerated” traveller plots, with the authority currently failing in its legal duty to provide even one spot.

It had also been due to commit £25,000 to carry out further investigations into a contaminated former landfill it wishes to make a permanent traveller site, along with £10,000 to put height barriers on “vulnerable” car parks in the district to prevent illegal encampments.

The time available for the meeting was exhausted by lengthy discussions on late-night refreshment and alcohol policies, charity street collection policies, the council’s finances, and a super council merger.

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