A campaign co-ordinated by local people against a proposed Gypsy site has been praised by a charity representing travellers’ interests.
The Irish Traveller Movement in Britain has welcomed the work done by Kiveton Park Station Action Group to formulate an official objection.
The group submitted 1,354 individual objections to Rotherham Council before the authority closed its consultation period on the draft Local Plan document last month.
The proposed site, off Dog Kennel Hill on the Kiveton / South Anston border, is a former quarry currently used as a RMBC Streetpride depot.
The action group conducted its own research, focussing on how suitable the site is for human habitation and the desire to make it a heritage asset.
They said the move would contravene green belt planning regulations and did not recognise more appropriate uses for the site.
Extra parking for Kiveton Park Station was one example. A visitor centre or heritage base for the adjacent Chesterfield Canal was another.
Moreover, the group claim any Gypsies and travellers living on the site would experience ‘discrimination’ because they believe it is unfit for human habitation - set within steep sided quarry walls and next to a busy railway line.
A spokesman for the Irish Traveller Movement thanked the action group for its work.
“It gives us some hope to hear about the Kiveton action group suggesting alternative sites and we are really behind this move if they truly think that the site proposed by the council would be inappropriate for the health and well being of Gypsy and Traveller families,” he said.
“We would be prejudiced ourselves if we thought that all local campaigns were fuelled by prejudice. Clearly, the action group recognise the fact that a significant minority of the UK’s Romany Gypsies and Travellers desperately need somewhere secure to live and that a small Traveller site can become part of a local community if planned appropriately. There are many, many examples across the country that show this to be the case.”