Durham County Council confirm temporary stop over areas ahead of Appleby Fair

29 May 2023

Preparations are being made across County Durham ahead of Gypsies and Travellers making the journey to and from this year’s Appleby Horse Fair.

As in previous years, Durham County Council is setting up Temporary Stop Over Areas (TSOAs) along roads traditionally used by Gypsies and Travellers heading to and from the fair, for the benefit of both those using them and residents living along the routes.

The TSOAs are being provided as part of a coordinated response also involving the South West Durham Business, Residents’ and Travellers’ Forum, and the Teesdale Residents’ and Travellers’ Forum. This includes representatives from the county council, town and parish councils, Durham Constabulary, local businesses and Gypsy, Roma, Traveller representatives.

The fair will be held on its traditional dates, from Thursday 8 to Wednesday 14 June. Nine TSOAs are being prepared along traditional travelling routes through Teesdale and the south west Durham area, with the facilities open from Friday 26 May until Friday 23 June.

The TSOAS are located in south west Durham at:

• Binchester Corner, DL14 8AW;

• Tindale Park, DL14 9AE;

• Westerton Layby, DL14 8AL; and

In Teesdale at:

• Broomielaw Picnic Area, DL12 8TT;

• Guide Post Corner, Bowes, DL12 9HU;

• Land at Stainton Bank, DL12 8RQ;

• Shaw Bank Field, DL12 8TD;

• Wackerfield Layby, DL2 3AP;

• Winston Corner, DL2 3RW.

There is also a TSOA at Gurney Valley, Bishop Auckland, DL14 8RP which is available throughout the summer.

Officers from the council will be making regular visits to the TSOAs. In addition, representatives from other organisations in County Durham will also be visiting the TSOAs and unauthorised encampments to ensure appropriate support is offered to those present.

Temporary signs will be in place to advise of the locations of TSOAs as well as signage detailing ‘guidance for your stay’ for those stopping at them.

Owen Cleugh, the county council’s public protection manager, said: “We have worked with our partners to prepare for Gypsies and Travellers making the journey to and from Appleby – for the good of everyone. Providing stop over areas benefits both Gypsies and Travellers who are able to access sites and aims to also reduce the number of unauthorised encampments, which can be an issue for local residents and businesses. We would encourage those travelling to and from the Appleby Fair to use the TSOAs provided.”

Shirley Quinn, Chair of South West Durham Residents’, Business and Travellers’ Forum, said: “Appleby Fair is a historic yearly event and we welcome the GRT communities to County Durham to enjoy activities with fellow travellers and local people.

“Durham County has a welcoming and inclusive attitude, supporting the communities throughout the summer, with both one stop over area for the whole summer and nine temporary stop over areas, over the main Appleby period, four of which are in the south west Durham locality.

“Partners including parish, town and county councils, the police and the Gypsy and Traveller communities work together to ensure everyone, both visiting and residential, enjoys this passage through County Durham.”

Billy Welch, lead for Appleby Fair, said: “The fair this year has gone back to its traditional date, starting on Thursday 8 June. Durham County Council and forum partners have been working very hard to provide good safe stop over areas, which are available two weeks before the fair from Friday 26 May.

“I hope everyone has a wonderful time when you are camping on the stop over areas. Please be sensitive to local residents, keep the areas nice and tidy, look after them and be respectful, as we want to be able to return to them next year.

“We are extremely grateful to Durham County Council and forum partners for providing us with these areas, they are much needed and appreciated.”

Sergeant Angela Drasdo, from Barnard Castle Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The police and our partners will be monitoring the migration through Teesdale and will be supporting our communities.

“Some residents accept the migration of Travellers through Teesdale each year but others have concerns about the potential for trespass and there can be feelings of unease from the settled community. In reality this is a diverse community happening and not a police public safety event.

“Our joined-up approach and the pre-planning and provision we make, means we have experienced a relatively small number of incidents directly related to the Travellers. Extra police officers have been called in to provide high visibility patrols across the Dales throughout the period and we will continue to work with our partners to support all those involved.”

Those travelling to Appleby will be able to access information about Temporary Stop Over Areas on the event website: www.applebyfair.org

Any members of the public wishing to speak to the council’s Safer Communities service can call 03000 260 000 or email grtservice@durham.gov.uk