Durham County Council's Preparations underway for Appleby Horse Fair
Press release issued by Durham County Council on May 17, 2017 4.22pm
Preparations are being made across County Durham to accommodate Gypsies and Travellers heading to the 2017 Appleby Horse Fair.
The event runs from 8 to 13 June and Temporary Stop Over Areas (TSOAs) are being set up in the Teesdale area in preparation.
The six designated TSOAs are located along the traditional travelling routes to Appleby and will be open between Friday 26 May and Friday 23 June.
The TSOAs are at: Wackerfield layby, Stainton Bank, Broomielaw, Shaw Bank field (on the A688 between Stainton Grove and Barnard Castle), and on grassed areas at Winston corner and Guide Post Corner, Bowes. There is also a TSOA at Gurney Valley, Bishop Auckland, which is open from April throughout the summer.
Our Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Service (GRTS) will ensure facilities are provided at all TSOAs, including temporary toilet facilities, refuse collections and, in some cases, water supply for animals.
Such facilities are put in place to encourage use of the TSOAs over unauthorised encampments.
Officers from the GRTS and our neighbourhood wardens will be making regular visits to the TSOAs, as well as visiting any unauthorised encampments.
The TSOAs are being provided as part of a coordinated response from the Teesdale Residents' and Travellers' Forum, which includes representatives from us, Durham Constabulary and town and parish councils.
Ian Hoult, our neighbourhood protection manager, said: "As in previous years, we are committed to working with partners to balance the needs of Gypsies and Travellers heading to Appleby with the interests of local residents and communities.
"We will be working to ensure people pass through County Durham on route to Appleby with minimal impact on local residents, as has been the case previous years."
Mike Taylor, chair of the forum, said: "The members of the forum will liaise with Durham County Council, Durham Constabulary and local residents to try and ensure a seamless passage through Teesdale for the Travellers going both to and from the Appleby fair."
Sergeant Simon Rogers, of Barnard Castle Neighbourhood Police Team, added: "Some residents accept Travellers passing through the dale, but others have concerns about the potential for trespass and there can be feelings of unease about an influx of people passing through.
"Police and our partners will be monitoring the movement of people and supporting all communities.
"We are using Facebook again this year to provide a better flow of information to help reduce any possible concerns or tensions which may arise.
"In reality this is a diverse community occurrence and not a police public safety event.
"Our joined up approach means that in recent years we have experienced a relatively small number of incidents related directly to the Travellers."
The policing team will provide updates on its Facebook page: Barnard Castle Police www.facebook.com/Barnard-Castle-Police-424214384422274
It will also be posting on the event's Facebook page: Appleby Horse Fair, the biggest and best in Europe www.facebook.com/Appleby-Horse-Fair-the-biggest-and-best-in-Europe-15646...
Billy Welch, one of the organisers of the fair, said: "I would like to appeal to Gypsies and Travellers not to arrive too soon at the designated camping areas.
"I'd encourage them to be very wary of traffic while travelling especially where horses are concerned and to show consideration and patience for motorists and other road users.
"I'd also ask them to show consideration for local residents and for the area in which they are camped."
Temporary signposts will be in place while the TSOAs are open to direct Gypsies and Travellers and advise local residents and road users.
Any members of the public wishing to speak to the GRTS can call 03000 261 000.
A senior NHS nurse who works with Gypsies and Travellers will be accompanying GRTS officers on some visits to TSOAs.
Advice and support will be provided on how to stay healthy; immunisations; accessing NHS appointments; child development and parenting issues.
Travellers and Gypsies staying on the TSOAs will be able to speak to the nurse in confidence about any individual or family health matters they may have.