We are taking action in the community interest despite the main unauthorised encampment on land at Bakewell Showground not being owned or leased by the District Council.
In March this year the District Council successfully obtained an Order to evict Travellers from the site, but the Court specified that the Order could not be executed until coronavirus restrictions were lifted. This position has subsequently been backed up by Government and Police guidance.
Now we have prepared an application to the Magistrates’ Court to test the strength of this guidance - and today's papers served on the Travellers inform them this is happening.
However, eviction action will be dependent on magistrates being prepared to hear the case in light of Covi-19 priorities.
On Friday evening we attempted to secure the site by closing off its car park and entrances at the Agricultural Business Centre (ABC), but the perimeter of Bakewell Showground was breached, enabling further caravans to access the unauthorised encampment over the weekend.
The main car park entrance was reopened on Monday morning to enable the local farming community to attend a livestock market at the ABC - and the Council has put in security staff to control the entrance.
Paul Wilson, the District Council's chief executive said: "We absolutely understand the concerns and anger of the local community about the current situation, but we have to make it clear that we can only act in this matter with the support of the courts. We have no authority whatsoever to simply clear the site.
"While it is the landowner's responsibility to secure eviction, not ours, we intend to continue a legal process to remove this unauthorised encampment in the interests of local people.
"We also continue to put a lot of time and effort into securing the site, but anyone who knows Bakewell Showground will appreciate just how difficult this is, and, in this respect, we welcome the support of local police who continue to respond to the perimeter breaches that have happened in recent days."
More information about how the Council deals with unauthorised encampments is available at www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/Travellers