Questions, if any, from Members who have given notice.
Questions from Councillor Clare Gamble to Councillor Garry Purdy, Leader of the Council:
“1: Has the Gypsy and Traveller Working Group found Temporary Tolerated Stopping Places in addition to Derwent Way in Matlock and the Station Car Park in Matlock Bath? Please name any places that have been assessed, and any places that are due to be assessed?
2: It has come to my attention that a business in my ownership has been used in a matrix to access a site as a Temporary Tolerated Stopping Place, without my knowledge. Can you explain how The Heights of Abraham got personal guarantees from the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive that the council would only use a site in the council’s ownership until 31st January 2023? How confident are you that this date will be adhered to?
3: Are the Gypsy and Traveller Working Group still using a matrix to assess potential sites? If they are not, on what date did they stop using it, and what process are they now using to assess sites?”
Councillor Purdy provided the following responses:
1. The sites assessed were referred to in the report that was considered by the Council at its meeting on 24 November 2022. I don’t intend to repeat them all here. With regard to any places due to be consideredas temporary sites, these are not in the ownership of the Council and are subject to commercial negotiation presently and I am advised that I cannot name these in a public meeting at this time. I would hope that this information will be made public when the Gypsy and Traveller Site Provision Working Group submits its next report to Council.
2. The Heights of Abraham did not get personal guarantees either from myself or the Chief Executive. Council agreed to the recommendation from the Gypsy and Traveller Site Provision Working Group that the Matlock Bath Station Yard Car Park should be designated as a temporary site until 31 January 2023. This confirmed an earlier urgent decision which was taken by the Director of Corporate and Customer Services following consultation with the working group, political group leaders from all groups and receiving the necessary consent from the Vice-Chairman of the Council and me as Leader of the Council. As we are now at 26 January and the cross party working group has not yet delivered any further recommendations, I am disappointed to advise that the Council will not be able to require the specific Traveller family to move from Matlock Bath Station Yard Car Park by 31 January 2023. It is imperative that alternative sites are identified and agreed at the earliest opportunity.
3. The matrix used by the Gypsy and Traveller Site Provision Working Group was based on analysis of potential sites against Planning Policy HC6 which specifically relates to the delivery of permanent Traveller sites. The last discussion in relation to the matrix at the Working Group was on 2 November 2022, however I can confirm that all sites that remain under consideration were previously assessed against Planning Policy HC6. It is a matter for the working group to determine whether they wish to seek advice and analysis from Planning Policy officers in respect of any other sites that may come under consideration.