Every years thousands of visitors visit the Nine Ladies Stone Circle on Stanton Moor in Stanton in Peak. Residents every year have to deal with parking issues, anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.
Sarah Dines said, ‘The visitors to Stanton in Peak during the Summer Solstice is not a new occurrence. We are incredibly lucky to have a site like the Nine Ladies, which is an early Bronze Age stone circle traditionally believed to depict nine ladies turned to stone as a penalty for dancing on Sunday. It is part of a complex of prehistoric circles and standing stones on Stanton Moor. I can understand why people want to visit them and I also appreciate that for some, especially at the summer solstice, they are a place of significant spiritual importance. Unfortunately, not everyone who visits the site during the solstice is respectful of the historical importance or mindful of the impact their stay may have on residents. It is illegal to camp on the site, yet every year many travel great distances to illegally camp on the moor, having fires and unfortunately causing noise, disturbance and parking issues. Residents have told me of visitors using their gardens as toilets and this just isn’t acceptable.
In March I attended a steering group meeting with representatives of the Parish, Peak District National Park, District Council, County Council and the landowner to discuss how best to manage the influx of visitors to the area and I was pleased to see that the Police would be focussing on keeping local residents safe in the community. There is no doubt that this is an incredibly difficult site to manage and police, but the event clearly causes significant worries for residents of the area, not least that due to inconsiderate and illegal parking, emergency vehicles struggle to reach residents during the solstice.
Unfortunately, it was clear to me from the meeting that there was a significant group that were not able to contribute, the residents. Although represented by councillors, it became clear to me, that no one had gone directly to all residents of the area to ask them what they would like to see done. I undertook an extensive survey of residents from Stanton in Peak and the neighbouring Parish. The majority requested an increase in police presence and for road closures to take place during the event. I have written to the steering group insisting that residents voices are heard and taken into account.
I cannot stress enough how vital it is that residents voices are heard on this matter.’