Planning permission sought for Traveller site

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A planning application for a permanent site for a Traveller family at Homesford wood yard is to be submitted by Derbyshire Dales District Council.

At a meeting last night (Thursday), councillors also gave the go-ahead for negotiations to take place with the wood yard’s landowners, Paul and Andrea Hodgkinson, to agree a price for the site – with the proviso it cannot exceed an independent valuation commissioned by the district council.

Councillors agreed that any contract to buy the land should be dependent on a successful planning application. Further public consultation will take place before planning permission can be considered.

Meanwhile, the meeting rejected three new possible alternative sites at Turnditch, Bakewell and Hulland Ward.

Five new sites in total were submitted to the meeting for consideration and each was tested using an evaluation matrix taking into account many relevant factors, including site size, ownership, availability, proximity to residential properties, vehicular access, bus routes, shops and schools, ground conditions and access to health services. Ten other potential sites were rejected earlier this year using the matrix as a guide.

A special meeting, including site visits, is to be convened to further examine the potential of the remaining two alternative sites – both at Bolehill. One is a grassed area alongside the B5036 road next to the Black Rocks car park. The other – put forward by the landowner only a few hours before the meeting – is a triangular piece of land nearby.

Ultimately the council only needs to successfully identify one permanent site, with Homesford currently the most advanced.

By the end of this month, a temporary Traveller site in Rowsley, granted planning permission earlier this year, will be ready for the Traveller family for a maximum period of nine months from the first day of occupation.