Review could pave way for gypsy camp

A review of gypsy and traveller accommodation could identify Amber Valley as the next location for a publicl- run site for caravans.

The new report will consider the needs of Derbyshire’s gypsy and traveller population, following on from a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment carried out in 2008.

That report highlighted Amber Valley and Derbyshire Dales as the most appropriate areas in which to site a pitch for travelling families.

And, while there are currently no formal plans in place to create a permanent site for gypsies and travellers, a recent application to Derbyshire Dales District Council for the provision of homes for a travelling family means that the authority is already identifying potential sites.

The 2008 report, commissioned by Derbyshire Travellers’ Issues Workng Group, said: “There will be a continued need to provide public sites for those unable to afford private sites.

“Derby City require a site of 16 pitches to provide for an unauthorised encampment of 26 caravans. Other public sites should be spread across the county to provide choice to gypsies and travellers.

“For the remainder of the public site provision, it would be preferable to distribute the sites across Derbyshire and not put them near existing sites.

“This would provide a greater choice of areas to live for gypsies and travellers.

“In this context, we recommend that new public sites in the south of the county should be located in Amber Valley Borough or Derbyshire Dales District, and for the north of the county in Chesterfield Borough or High Peak Borough.”

In a statement this week, assistant director for planning and regeneration at Amber Valley Borough Council, Derek Stafford, said: “There are currently no planning applications in Amber Valley for gypsy or traveller sites. The council also has no current proposals to provide any authorised sites for gypsies and travellers, although it will need to consider in due course the findings of a review of the Derbyshire Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment, which will be commenced shortly.”

The 2008 report noted that 40 per cent of the Derbyshire gypsy population are aged 16 or under, indicating the need for further provision on already overcrowded sites is likely to be needed by 2013 as young people grow older and have families of their own.

The report also stated: “Private sites are preferred by many gypsies and travellers and also tend to be better maintained and cheaper to provide.

“Local authorities have the power to operate exceptions policies allowing the development of private sites in areas where planning permission would not typically be granted.”