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Wooded site ideal for traveller family

There has been the usual outbreak of hysteria over the gypsies at Rowsley.
I am sure this site is very suitable for temporary use as long as it is confined to one family group. I don’t expect to see a gathering of the clans and trailers overflowing into the industrial estate.

This problem is quite a small one, but has defeated the town planning system for decades.
The Labour government did show signs of dealing with the matter.

There was the frightfully bureaucratic Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Assessment. Councils tried to off load the problem onto their neighbours.

Some councils really do have problems, the Bournemouth Unitary Authority has very little open countryside and it is alleged that Cheltenham is similar. In the Derbyshire Dales there is a great deal of open countryside (not much greenbelt).

The problem used to centre around criteria based policy. This would rule out nearly all sensible sites. These had to be close to facilities such as shops and schools, but not close to neighbours who might be upset.

Probably the ideal site would be in woodland halfway between one village and the next. It is difficult to acquire rural land in small amounts.

This probably needs government intervention, given the absence of County Council smallholdings in Derbyshire.

The present government has totally failed to tackle the matter.

In the short term, this family will have to go to Rowsley. In the longer term the site will be needed for re-opening the railway, whether by Peak Rail or Network Rail.

This site has never been a car park despite being right next to one. It is to the right of the photograph (Matlock Mercury, November 15). The visual impact should be negligible as the location is surrounded by trees. When it comes to landscaping, the occupiers of Old Station Close have a lot to answer for.

This site is an eyesore on the approach to the National Park and conspicuous from the A6, which the gypsy site is not.

Paul Gibbons


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