Derbyshire County Council says Cromford beauty spot open to visitors as Travellers pitch up in car park

Derbyshire County Council says it is taking steps to move a group of Travellers who have taken up residence at a beauty spot between Cromford and Wirksworth.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 3:34 pm

The authority has sought to reassure visitors that Black Rocks is still accessible as usual despite the presence of the camp.

With stunning views over the Derwent Valley, woodland walking routes, access to the High Peak Trail and ideal climbing gritstone, Black Rocks is a hugely popular destination for all sorts of visitors. It is not the first time that has included Travellers

A spokesperson for the authority said: “A group of Travellers has moved into the car park at Black Rocks which we own.

Travellers have moved into the car park at Black Rocks near Wirksworth.

“We’ve visited the group and we’re working with them to ensure they can move on as soon as possible. There is still plenty of space for parking at Black Rocks for visitors.”

It is thought that the Travellers arrived at the site shortly after Derbyshire Dales District Council and bailiffs served a court order to evict part of a camp from the car park at Matlock railway station. It has not been confirmed whether it is members of the same group now at Cromford.

Responsibility for managing the Travellers’ presence now falls to the county council as the landowner but once again highlights the failure of the district council to fulfil its legal duty to provide six Traveller pitches – although both authorities may have to accept some responsibility.

A permanent site had been earmarked at Watery Lane near Ashbourne until Conservatives took power at County Hall in 2018 and immediately terminated negotiations over the site.

Advocacy organisation the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group has recently submitted a new planning application for another Watery Lane, this one in Clifton, including five permanent caravan pitches and one space for touring caravans.

The proposal has attracted significant opposition from Clifton residents and is yet to come before the district planning committee, which is currently unable to meet due to Covid restrictions.

The district council is yet to begin work on preparing an agreed permanent Travellers site at Knabhall Lane in Tansley.

Last month, liaison group spokesman Siobhan Spencer called for the district council to create a transitory site for Travellers passing through area, or engage in negotiations over temporary stopping rights.

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