A traveller family who have been told they can remain on a site they’ve illegally called home since 2011 say they are “over the moon” with the council’s decision.
On Monday, councillors approved a retrospective planning application for the site off Hady Lane, Calow, for two residential traveller pitches with provision for two additional visiting caravans.
Despite the application being described as “unlawful”, planning officers for Chesterfield Borough Council conceded that there was “statutory provision” for the applicants – who describe themselves as Irish Travellers – and recommended that councillors approve the bid.
Traveller James Cash, who submitted the application, said: “It’s a huge relief that the application’s been approved.
“This has been our home for years and now we can finally feel like citizens.
“We’re not big-headed about it, though, we’re just genuinely thankful for all the council has done for us.”
Councillors were told there was “widespread opposition” to the development from the local community – with concerns about noise, mess and antisocial behaviour.
Responding to the concerns, Mr Cash said: “There’s good and bad in every culture, and it’s unfair that every traveller family gets tarred with the same brush – just because of a few bad ones.
“We work, we keep our home clean, we don’t make noise, we raise our children well and if people want to do wrong by us, that’s up to them. We want to integrate.”
Councillors were told that there was “no substantive evidence” to say the site would pose a threat of antisocial behaviour, noise, or personal safety to residents living nearby.
“Little weight should be given to fears expressed in the local community that the development will lead to an increase in crime and antisocial behaviour,” councillors were told.