You have to feel sorry for them all
ONE can’t help feeling a pang of sympathy for Derbyshire Dales District Council. And a family of travellers.
Wherever their caravans are pitched, urban or rural, they’re about as welcome as a bull in a china shop. But, nevertheless, the law says the district council has to find a site for them.
Among Derbyshire Dales’s sprawling land mass there needs to be a piece of flat, hard standing which satisfies a string of planning policies, with adequate utilities, and preferably a lack of any sensitive neighbours.
And it’s not as if the council can go to a private landowner with a blank cheque and a warm smile – who can afford to give over their plot to travellers for a fee the district can afford to pay?
It’s probably safe to assume there’s no publiclyowned land that’s suitable, or it would have been used in place of the wildly inappropriate Watery Lane site which, we expect, was only on the table to ensure the Local Plan was adopted.
So what is the council to do? They’ve been looking for a permanent site for years, so can how far can their net be widened? Are we facing yet more years of this poor family having to jump from site to site, facing angry comments and evictions?
One thing is clear from comments and opinions already registered:
Ashbourne will not tolerate an encampment in the town centre.
Watery Lane was controversial enough, but the thought of a traveller family making free use of a public amenity gifted to the town by Nestlé, next to sheltered accommodation, facing a block of flats, and directly against what is essentially a beauty spot, has proven a bitter pill.
Let’s hope a solution is found soon, for the sake of everyone concerned, and we can find somewhere away from Fishpond Meadow.