CAMP: Travellers have set up camp on Harmire Enterprise Park
CAMP: Travellers have set up camp on Harmire Enterprise Park

MORE planning than ever has not prevented travellers

setting up unauthorised stopovers on their annual migration to Appleby.

Temporary stopover areas are being set up in Teesdale and south-west Durham ahead of the annual horse fair in Appleby which starts on June 6. These areas are only open for a limited period, from May 25 until June 22. To ease the situation the Tindale Park site is opening a week earlier on May 17 and the site at Gurney Valley, in Bishop Auckland, is open now and will remain open throughout the summer.

The stopover areas are provided by the Teesdale Residents and Travellers’ Forum and the South West Durham Residents, Business and Travellers’ Forum. Mike Taylor, chairman of Teesdale Residents and Travellers’ Forum said: “We are working hard to try to meet everyone’s needs. We work with travellers and residents alike to try to ensure the period passes without incident.”

Despite increased efforts to accommodate the travellers, one family has already been moved on from Winston by Durham County Council for arriving too early in the season. Travellers have now set up an unauthorised camp at Harmire Enterprise Park in Barnard Castle.

Mr Taylor said: “When things like this happen it doesn’t help anyone. The problems are being caused by a very small minority. It is anticipated that the majority of travellers will arrive in Teesdale over the first week following the opening of the sites.”

One businessperson, who didn’t want to be named, said: “The travellers arrive earlier and earlier and the longer they are here the more rubbish we have to put up with.”

Problems with horses, barking dogs, loud music and a noisy generator have also been reported at Harmire estate. A spokesperson for Colliers International, which manages Harmire on behalf of owner Columbia Threadneedle, said: “We have

instructed certified enforcement officers and are working with them to follow the lawful process for moving the travellers on from our client’s private land.”