Trav­ellers could face move to Mat­lock Bath next week

Ashbourne News Telegraph - - NEWS - By Gareth But­ter­field gareth.but­ter­[email protected]­bourne­new­stele­graph.co.uk

A FAM­ILY of trav­ellers who have been pitched up in Ash­bourne’s town cen­tre for just over a month could be asked to move to Mat­lock Bath next week.

Der­byshire Dales District Coun­cil­lors have been called to a meet­ing on Mon­day to dis­cuss a plan to en­cour­age the fam­ily to stay on an over­flow car park next to Mat­lock Bath’s sta­tion, known as Tinti’s Yard.

In a re­port to the Com­mu­nity and En­vi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee the district coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Wilson has said that the cur­rent unau­tho­rised en­camp­ment in Ash­bourne’s Fish­pond Meadow Car Park, off Park Road, is not con­sid­ered suit­able in the longer term due to its lo­ca­tion, poor ground con­di­tions, lack of ser­vices and its re­quired use as a town cen­tre car park.

The News Tele­graph has learned since the re­port was pub­lished that the district coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­men­tal health team has had to deal with five noise com­plaints from the en­camp­ment – and one com­plaint al­leg­ing dam­age to a fence.

The re­port has re­vealed that the coun­cil has “tol­er­ated” Ash­bourne’s en­camp­ment since the trav­ellers chose to move there on Sun­day, Novem­ber 4, and that no at­tempt has been made to force them to move.

The re­port also re­veals that the fam­ily camped in Ash­bourne has re­cently made an ap­pli­ca­tion to de­clare them­selves home­less, which puts fur­ther pres­sure on the coun­cil to find them a per­ma­nent site.

Last month, coun­cil­lors agreed to step up the author­ity’s search for a plot of land the trav­ellers can set­tle on per­ma­nently, and this is set to con­tinue, but bosses are now duty bound to find a tem­po­rary site.

If the coun­cil­lors vote to ap­prove plans to use the Tinti’s Yard site in Mat­lock Bath, the trav­ellers can be asked to move to it from Ash­bourne, but they can­not be forced and there is no guar­an­tee they will choose to stay.

Re­fer­ring to Tinti’s Yard in his re­port, pub­lished on Fri­day evening, Mr Wilson ex­plained to coun­cil­lors: “If Mem­bers are in agree­ment that this is a suit­able tem­po­rary al­ter­na­tive, the district coun­cil can di­rect the fam­ily to leave the cur­rent site, how­ever, the district coun­cil can­not com­pel the fam­ily to re­lo­cate to Tinti’s Yard. “If, fol­low­ing di­rec­tion to an al­ter­na­tive tem­po­rary site, the fam­ily re­main in situ or re­lo­cate to another unau­tho­rised site; Of­fi­cers of the coun­cil will utilise their del­e­gated author­ity to con­sider whether to un­der­take pos­ses­sion pro­ceed­ings.”

At Mon­day’s meet­ing, due to take place in pub­lic from 6pm in Mat­lock Town Hall, coun­cil­lors will be asked to vote on whether to di­rect the trav­ellers to Mat­lock Bath and then to “tol­er­ate them” there un­til March 2019.

This, the author­ity hopes, will al­low them suf­fi­cient time to find a per­ma­nent site for the fam­ily else­where in the district and dis­cour­age any fur­ther unau­tho­rised en­camp­ments.

The coun­cil can di­rect the fam­ily to leave but not com­pel them to re­lo­cate to Tinti’s Yard Paul Wilson

Fish­pond Meadow in Ash­bourne, has seen an unau­tho­rised en­camp­ment by a trav­eller fam­ily for just over a month.

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