Defence site could be home for Appleby Horse Fair travellers
Last updated at 10:07, Friday, 13 December 2013
Part of a military base could be used to house travellers heading for Appleby Horse Fair.
The Ministry of Defence is considering calls to free-up some of its land to become a temporary camping site.
Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart has been involved in talks with Defence Minister Philip Dunne to see if part of the testing range at Warcop could be used to ease concerns about where gypsies and travellers are pitching up.
He this week described the meetings as “surprisingly productive” and said: “The minister seems amenable and open to discussing a site. We are now looking in detail at maps.”
Progress with the minister follows months of lobbying, but comes with a warning that there is likely to be some way to go before a final decision is reached.
But Mr Stewart says he is confident a “good solution” can be found.
Those leading calls for land at Warcop, off the A66 near Appleby, to be freed up believe the site is ideal as a stop-off for those making their way to the fair, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year.
Efforts have been on-going for a number of years to deal with complaints about where travellers are setting up camp in places around the east of Cumbria, including Appleby, Kirkby Stephen and Brough.
Discussions so far have also involved Eden Council leader Gordon Nicolson, local county councillor Libby Bateman and Dr Carl Hallam, who lives in the area.
Mr Stewart said: “I am enormously pleased that the minister is so open to our suggestions, which are based on sound, detailed local knowledge of the land on Warcop site, and experience of which sites would work best and could conceivably be temporarily leased as camping land for travellers.
“It's a win-win situation for all. It would take much pressure off our local villages and roads, is ideally placed for access to the camp and would benefit the Ministry of Defence in terms of local goodwill.”
The MP also believes it would make the work of the multi-agency group that oversees the fair easier because its efforts could be focussed on other things.”
Ms Bateman said: “It’s essential that we find a fair and balanced solution for the Appleby Horse Fair encampment strategy in Upper Eden because travellers often arrive two to four weeks ahead of the actual fair, which can cause prolonged disruption.
“It’s no good just telling people where they can’t stop. We need to have designated sites where travellers can stay before the fair.”
First published at 10:06, Friday, 13 December 2013
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
As others have said, I suppose it's a good idea to help control where the travellers do stay but I would insist that they pay for using the site, more so to cover the clean up afterwards as it's well known that the travelling community leave unacceptable mess wherever they vacate and I don't see why I should pay for cleaning their mess.
@Mike. Of course the taxpayer will pick up the bill, this is the horse fair we're talking about, taxpayers always pick up the numerous bills.
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