Public being misled over traveller issue

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We fear the public is being misled over the traveller site issue.

Had you read all the shenanigans of the Derbyshire Dales District Council over a protracted number of months they may well have come to a different point of view which may well coincide with Rowsley’s total mistrust of this council.

Countless objections, including a 700+ petition, were written by residents and the Parish Council only to be totally ignored.

Residents and the Parish Council never missed an opportunity in Public Participation to inform the various councils that this site was contaminated, it was totally unsuitable for various reasons, not least because on Health & Safety grounds an access and an egress are requirements and of the closeness of the river to the site. Specific educational needs which we understand is the reason for the travellers requiring to be as close to Ashbourne have been totally ignored.

Hilariously the site still states no overnight camping and to get to the new designated area they would have to cross this no overnight camping area.

Obviously the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing and don’t forget Rowsley residents also pay their Council Tax to this seemingly determined council as do the 60 businesses affected by the determination.

We are reliably informed by District Councillors that it normally takes between 2 and 3 weeks to send out a determination notice, however you may like to ponder why when the decision was taken on the evening of Thursday,March 21st and given that the 23rd and 24th was a weekend why the decision notice bore the date of Monday, March 25?

It was with total shock that one officer of the Council at two meetings informed the Councillors that they had to approve this site or the Council would be taken to court for failure to find a site.

What right had this officer to use coercion on the committee? How could the committee come with an open mind demanded by their standards? Our parish council was informed that they had had 40 years in which to provide a site!

Strangely the statement about tourism and Haddon fishing rights at this very spot for the temporary site was of no consequence but the documents reflect similar concerns for the permanent Homesford site and were of great significance!

Miss Spencer is right in stating that it was a waste of money at Rowsley. May I add that we have been informed that this site is required for car parking facilities when the 60 mile cycle route is complete and bearing in mind the bid is ALREADY in as of the 30th April 2013! Why waste our precept in times of austerity?

The Parish Council, residents and businesses have repeatedly requested an accurate assessment of developmental costs and viability and now it would appear an independent enquiry requested by the DGLG will prove whether the site is appropriate, given the Council has repeatedly stated the satisfactory upgrade would cost £5,000 !!!!!!

Finally you may like to question why when 9 Councillors voted the site through not one was available when Radio Derby aired this issue at 5.30pm on the 22nd March and amazingly neither were any of the officers involved in this longstanding debacle.

We would like to publicly express our appreciation to Councillors Jo Wild and Mike Longden for their understanding, help, fairness and professionalism shown to Rowsley Parish Council over many months of this saga.

Kath Potter

Chair Rowsley Parish Council