ANGER has been sparked by plans to create a site for travellers on the outskirts of Ashbourne.
Derbyshire Dales District Council is proposing to designate land adjacent to Ashbourne cemetery and the Mayfield Road allotments as a site for travellers, allowing up to five caravans to be situated there for a period of three years.
The move has prompted strong reactions from townsfolk, with Ashbourne Town Council and Ashbourne Allotment Associations both calling emergency meetings this week ahead of the district council’s Southern Area Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday, November 13, at which a change of use application will be decided.
Currently, a traveller family is staying at Bakewell Showground, which is partially owned by the district council. A temporary site at Rowsley is being set up while the potential three-year site at Ashbourne is decided.
A spokesman for Derbyshire Dales District Council said: “A planning application has been submitted for a traveller site in the Derbyshire Dales on the outskirts of Ashbourne and a decision is likely on November 13.” Ashbourne Town Council member, Caroline Cooper, said: “My personal view is that I think it is in the wrong place. I’m really angry about it. There has been no consultation with the town council and our district councillors who also sit on the town council have not said anything to us about it.
“I am very disappointed that we, as a town council, who are supposed to be the leading body in the town, are the last people, yet again, to know what’s happening.” Ashbourne Allotment Association (AAA) has expressed concerns ahead of the decision and was due to hold an emergency general meeting after the News Telegraph went to press last night.
Chairman of the AAA, Barry Morrison, said: “Derbyshire Dales have paid nothing towards this access road and they want to use our way in. If this does happen, we shall lose plot-holders.
“The problem is caravans coming through our car park. There are children and young families here and we don’t think it is safe to bring them through. It was never meant to be used as a throughway.
“We have paid for the surfacing of this car park and now the district council want to use it as an access road and they’ve never paid anything towards it. Our gripe is with Derbyshire Dales District Council.” The News Telegraph made several attempts to contact the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, but due to family illness representatives were unavailable for comment before going to press.
The district council will have to apply to its own planning committee which will meet at Ashbourne Leisure Centre at 6pm on Tuesday.