On Thursday 28th September, the Derbyshire Dales District Council met for a full Council meeting. On the agenda was an item regarding Traveller site provision. Following an outcry from residents, the motion tabled by the Liberal Democrat leadership of the Council to consult on sites in Rowsley and Ashbourne and to put 27 inappropriate sites back on the agenda, was postponed.
Sarah Dines MP said, ‘I am not often available to attend full Council meetings as a resident, but I made sure that I was able to watch Council meeting on the 28th in person. A suitable Traveller site, as required by law, has been something that I have been calling for since before I was elected, as without one, illegal encampments occur, residents are let down and the Traveller families are left to struggle on inappropriate sites. To not provide a site, the District Council are failing residents and the Travellers alike, but the site must be suitable. The Liberal Democrat led coalition at the District Council have postponed their nonsensical decision to put back on the agenda sites that were taken off last year as they weren’t suitable. Rather than seeing the error of their ways and removing these sites once and for all, following public outcry and sensible reasoning as to why their proposals fail everyone, they have only chosen to postpone this discussion. I fear this illustrates that the District Council are not putting residents and the vulnerable Travellers first; if they were, they would have wanted to provide clarity to everyone involved. As a result, local residents, businesses and the Travellers have at least six further weeks of worry and distress.
There is a site that recently received planning permission, and in another confusing move, the District Council now want to “consult” on this site, that has already been approved following the usual period of consultation that occurs on an application for planning permission. I stand with Dr Siobhan Spencer, from the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, as she calls on the Council to do the right thing and honour this planning permission and not to drag their feet when a suitable, approved site has been found. Everyone involved deserves better from their Council.’