Traders concerns over traveller site

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BUSINESS owners from one Dales village are up in arms after being informed that they could soon be neighbours with a traveller family.

Traders from Rowsley received letters last week advising them that Derbyshire Dales District Council is intending to allow a ‘temporary tolerated site’ for a traveller family on land at Old Station Close.

The travellers would be permitted to stay on the land until a permanent site is found for the family – who need to stay near Ashbourne as their son receives support for his learning difficulties there.

A spokesman for the district council said: “A planning application has been submitted for a permanent traveller site on the outskirts of Ashbourne and a decision is likely (to be made) on November 13.”

The spokesman added that it is not certain that the site in Rowsley would even be used – provided that planning permission for the permanent site is granted.

Siobhan Spencer, of Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, said: “We have recommended that the site be in the south of the county but until that land has gone through the planning procedure there is a need for a temporary site in the Derbyshire Dales.”

Siobhan added that the family consists of five people – two of which are pensioners – and a young man who is disabled.

She said: “They are a tidy family and it is important that they do have a base so that they can access the health care that they need.”

However, this has done little to appease the many business owners who operate from Old Station Close.

Adam Styles, of Peak Tractors, said: “We’re not happy at all. The last time we had travellers here we lost a lot of business. We have got numerous other concerns about their being here.

“Last time the travellers were only here for two or three weeks and the mess they made was just unbelievable.”

Ian Thompson, of T W Auto Engineers, added: “The car park where the council is proposing to put the travellers is already well used by tourists and I don’t think people realise what a busy site this is. If the travellers come here it will upset people, I’m sure.”

Owing to the news, Rowsley Parish Council is trying to arrange an emergency meeting to discuss the proposals.

Roger Brown, of Rowsley Parish Council, said: “There’s a lot of concerns in the village and a lot of questions we need to ask on this issue.

“The district council haven’t given us any indication of how long ‘temporary’ is and if one family comes, how many more will start turning up?”

If the site in Rowsley is used to house the family, minor work will be required – including the provision of temporary toilet facilities.