Preparations are under way to manage the annual movement of Gypsies and Travellers through South Lakeland en route to Appleby Horse Fair.
As in previous years, South Lakeland District Council is preparing several temporary stopping places for fair-goers travelling through the district on their way to and from Appleby.
South Lakeland District Council Locality Officer John Barwise said: “We will be building on the goodwill that exists between the council, Gypsies and Travellers by making daily visits to the sites to engage with fair-goers about litter.
“To help minimise the movement’s impact on the South Lakeland countryside, we will be giving out bin bags as well as regularly removing the filled sacks.
“In addition, our Locality Team and Cumbria Police will be carrying out daily verge patrols to check for any problems on the routes used to ensure that motorised caravans are not parking anywhere other than the temporary stopping points – bowtops are allowed to camp on the roadside.”
Council staff will also be making their annual “goodwill trip” along the A65 to meet Gypsies and Travellers en route, to hand out postcards letting them know when the sites will be open, and to discourage early arrivals.
The temporary sites in South Lakeland will be available to the Gypsy and Travelling community from Tuesday, May 31 until Thursday, June 9, the start date for this year’s fair.
The event has been put back by a week so that it does not fall on the same dates as The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Following the horse fair the sites will reopen from Monday, June 13 until Friday, June 17.
South Lakeland District Council is working with partner organisations including the county council, police and neighbouring councils to ensure the movement of Gypsies and Travellers through South Lakeland is safe and enjoyable for everyone.
The Locality Team has organised temporary stopping sites for both traditional bowtop caravans and motorised towed caravans at four locations on routes through South Lakeland to Appleby:
- Devil’s Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale
- Middleton Common, near Sedbergh
- Rawthey Bridge, Cautley, near Sedbergh
- Scrogg Bank Field, Sedbergh.
All four sites offer toilets and bins or skips with drinking water is also on tap at Devil’s Bridge and Scrogg Bank.
Meanwhile, community drop-in sessions have been organised in Kirkby Lonsdale and Sedbergh where members of the public can put their questions and comments about the movement to officers from South Lakeland District Council, Cumbria Police and Cumbria County Council.
These are to take place from Tuesday, May 31 to Saturday, June 18 at:
- Kirkby Lonsdale Fire Station – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 12pm-1pm
- Sedbergh Police Office (above Sedbergh Information Centre) – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 12pm-1pm.
Travellers have been strongly advised to plan their journeys carefully and not to arrive too early with towed caravans, to reduce the impact the event has on communities on the routes to Appleby.