Green Belt appeal decisions
Gypsies, travellers & travelling showpeople
Updated 11 May 2007, this page includes various recent decisions on appeals against refusal of planning consent. Summarises of appeal decisions arising from refusal of planning consent are available at www.Planning Reource.co,uk/dcs, with a copy of the decision letter also available for a fee.
'SoS' = Secretary of State. 'DETR' is now ‘DCLG’ = Dept for Communities and Local Government.
Caravans (other) are now on a separate page.
Gypsies get temporary permission in Beds GB. Retrospective permission for 5
years was given due to personal circumstances for 12 caravans housing 4
families. 3 previous appeals for gypsy
caravans had been refused and the caravans introduced an incongruous urbanised
appearance. They were out of scale to
the nearby 20-dwelling hamlet. However
there was a shortage of such sites in the district and refusal would have
forced the families to return to being nomads.
Two occupants had serious health problems and two children attended the
local school. The 5-year permission was
granted to allow the council to identify additional gypsy sites in the District
Plan. The SoS agreed it complied with
Circular 01/2006. It was immaterial
whether or not this site would be chosen as a permanent site in the Plan. It was the right balance between the appellants
needs and human rights and the need to protect the countryside and local
Gypsies proved an unmet need for sites in
Gypsy family given permanent permission in
Gypsies lose 4 appeals in
Gypsies allowed at West Mids GB site. Permission was
granted on appeal in 1986 for 4 caravans limiting use to gypsies. The DPM decided that the unmet need for
additional sites was not a very special circumstance , but the previous
permission and degree of visual
containment constituted a VSC allowing 6 caravans on the site.
Gypsy site approved in
Gypsy pitch refused at
Gypsy site allowed in
Lack of alternative sites but gypsy site refused
Beds GB gypsy site refusal by DPM overturned by Court. The Inspector recommended approval of the site due to the lack of alternative sites and the school head teacher had given very clear evidence that the special educational needs of some of the children would be adversely affected if they had to move. The ODPM refused permission, but the High Court over-ruled the ODPM on the grounds that insufficient reasons had been given for not accepting the Inspector’s recommendation. Hughes v 1st SoS 15.11.05 Ref CO/2887/2005. (Planning mag 2.12.05)
Bristol GB land cannot be used by show
people. The DPM agreed with
the inspector that reduced openness of the GB outweighed the use for storage of
fairground equipment etc. The appellant
failed to explain why an alternative site in a built-up area was
Gypsy status queried. Not in GB, but a
proposal for 4 mobile homes on the edge of the Cambs Fens was rejected because
the appellant and intended occupiers did not appear to follow a nomadic way of
life. The appellant was from a Romany
Gypsy family and had permanent permission to live on the site. He wanted his family to move on site. He had a landscaping business working from
the site on a daily basis and his family did not appear to be nomadic. Another section of the site already had
permission for mobile homes.
Gypsies given 2 months to vacate site in Beds GB. The family had lived there for 5 years and the High Court ruled they had to clear the site within 2 months or face a year in prison for contempt of court. The family claimed there was insufficient provision for gypsies in the area and they would have to live on unauthorised camps or the roadside, harming the children’s education. The judge found the family was in prolonged and deliberate breach of an injunction issued in Nov 2004. Another appeal is being considered but the judge refused to suspend the court action pending resolution of it. S Beds DC v Price and others. 23.9.05 Ref HQ/0403308.
Wilts gypsies refused. A site, subject to
two enforcement notices, housed 16 pitches each for a mobile home and a caravan
with day room and septic tanks. The
appellant claimed the council had failed to carry out an assessment of need and
development plans had inadequate provision for new sites. They had searched for alternative sites and
personal circumstances justified permanent permission. The Inspector agreed they were gypsies and
the site would have some impact on the countryside and amenity of
neighbours. He held the appellants
circumstances were not exceptional but recommended permanent permission in view
of the need for further sites and the limited impact of the site. The DPM agreed but noted the council had
started an assessment so that might identify preferable sites so he only
granted temporary permission.
Gypsy site refused in
Proven need for gypsy sites is no defence. The Dep Prime
Minister rejected an Inspector’s recommendation to approve retention of a
gypsy caravan site in the Bedfordshire GB.
There was a proven shortage of sites in the area. The personal circumstances of the family
carried weight but the continuing need for access to medical facilities,
shortage of alternative sites, and educational needs of the children did not
amount to very special circumstances.
Moving might disrupt their schooling but the local education authority
had an obligation to make provision for them even if they could not attend
regularly. The Inspector recommended
temporary approval but the DPM ruled that more time should be allowed for
compliance with the enforcement notices, extending the period from 3 months to
Health and education of gypsies justify
development in Glocs. (not GB land) Despite the adverse
effect on the countryside the health and education were sufficiently important
to justify approval. They bought the
land in 1993 and kept horses on it, and then moved onto the site in 2004,
moving off in early 2005 following an injunction. The appellant claimed there
were no alternative sites and the children need permanent education and health
facilities. The appellant’s parents also had significant health
problems. Stress was also caused by
living in a lay-by. Approval was given
on a temporary basis for 3 years to enable a more permanent location to be
High Court overrules magistrate & gypsies
must leave Wycombe site. At the magistrates
court the gypsies said they had done everything in their power to comply with
the enforcement order issued two years earlier by Wycombe DC. They had found no alternative site or any
other land to buy. Living by the
roadside was unsatisfactory and they were prepared to move into a house but the
council failed to offer suitable accommodation.
The magistrate agreed and refused to evict them. In the High Court the judge agreed with the
council that this was ‘non-sensical’. The defence against a failure to comply with
the enforcement order was not established by demonstrating that there were no
alternative sirtes. If applied
generally, a whole range of activities could make similar claims undermining
Forestry Commission had no duty to carry out
health assessment of gypsies. A group of travellers
had occupied Forestry Commission land at
Gypsies win Dorking (
Glocs has adequate sites for gypsies. Although there is a
national shortage of gypsy sites, Glocs housed 2/3rsd of all gypsy caravans in
the county and 80% on authorised sites.
The ODPM agreed that the personal circumstances of the families were
insufficient to outweigh the harm to the GB, with some of the families having
no affinity with the area. The 1.6ha
site had extensive hard standings and single-storey buildings on it.
Beds GB gypsies needs not exceptional. The ODPM upheld an
Inspector’s refusal to allow four gypsy families to remain on GB
land. The appellants argued the local
plan was flawed because it was not based on up-to-date quantitative assessment
of the need for gypsy sites. The
children’s education would be disrupted and there was a pressing need for
more sites. ODPM acknowledged the need
for more sites but the evidence on alternative sites was inconclusive.. The
threat to education was not exceptional because this frequently occurred even
within a settled community. The harm to
the GB was more important than the benefits of a permanent site.
No longer ‘gyspies’ due to abandoned nomadic lifestyle. The High Court quashed planning permission for 2 caravans and a shower block on Cambs GB. The appellants had surrendered their gypsy status. The Inspector had ruled that their former life style, strong family connections with others in the area, and need for health care and support services justified approval. This was now deemed perverse because the Inspector had taken into account their former life status. S Cambs DC v 1st SoS. 15.12.04. Ref CO/1327.2004
Essex GB gypsy site rejected. The ODPM agreed with
the Inspector’s recommendation to uphold various EOs against an
unauthorised gypsy camp, being harmful to the openness of the GB. He accepted this interfered with their Human
Rights but it was a proportionate response to the harm caused. There were no alternative pitches on approved
sites in the area but there was no overriding need for the family to stay ion
the area. They were given 12 months to
seek alternative accommodation.
Family link for
Chobham gyspies given 3 months to leave GB site. The High Court ruled that Surrey Heath BC could remove gypsies if they were still there after 3 months. The council argued that failure to act would send out a clear message to others since the breach was particularly flagrant. Surrey Heath BC v Rooney & others,. 5 11..04. Ref 04/TLQ/0834
Kent GB gypsies refused despite lack of
authorised sites. The narrow piece of
land of 0.3ha was next to a railway line and contained a mobile home , 4
touring caravans, and a trailer containing a shower toilet and washing
machine. Educational needs and a need
for more sites was a consideration but did not overrule the need to preserve
the openness of the countryside. The
appellant had not consulted the council before occupying the site and had not
assessed any alternative sites. The DPM
overruled the Inspector who was said to have underestimated the impact on
openness. It did interfere with the
appellants Human Rights but this had to be balanced against the wider public
S Bucks GB Gypsy eviction reversed by Law Lords. An Inspector found that one of the family suffered from severe asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure and had a fear of living in conventional housing. These were very special circumstances justifying permission despite the GB location. The Court of Appeal ruled that the Inspector had failed to take into account the unlawful occupation since 1985 and this was sufficient to quash the decision. The House of Lords re-instated the Inspector’s decision because the Inspector had given clear and ample reasons for his decision, and did not need to take into account every material consideration. The period of occupation was irrelevant. S Bucks DC v SoSTLGR 1 July 2004.
Warwicks GB gypsy site refused. the Deputy Prime
Minister agreed with the Inspector and refused a residential gypsy site as
inappropriate and unsustainable. It
would accommodate two families and the appellant claimed a substantial unmet
need for gypsy sites nationally and locally and that greater weight should be
put of the family’s personal circumstances. The Inspector found no particular ties to the
area, no services to the site and 4k to the nearest school. The decision would not breach Human Rights. The site would harm the green belt, have an
impact on highway safety, and was remote.
Staffs GB gypsy site approved. Adjoining an existing
gypsy site, the site contained a dilapidated bungalow, detached garage and
boarding kennels. These would be
demolished and replaced by space for eight static caravans and car
parking. Very special circumstances were
the reduced floor area, a few minutes walk to a school, shops and medical
facilities, and removal of the kennels would improve the residential amenity. The Inspector refused to accept insufficient
provision for gypsies as adequate grounds because it would have a far-reaching
cumulative impact on green belts. The
DPM agreed subject to a condition limiting the number of caravans.
Showman’s winter quarters disallowed
– In Bucks GB, the Deputy Prime Minister refused this
appeal concluding it would undermine the openness of the GB. The need to find accommodation was not a
compelling reason for approval.
Gypsy status still applied – In Surrey Met GB the
Inspector deciding on two enforcement orders, concluded that many of the
residents of the mobile homes no longer enjoyed gypsy status. In the Court of Appeal case of Wrexham BC v National Assembly of Wales and
Berry 2003, it was decided the residents had to adopt a travelling
lifestyle or, if not, they had an honest and realistic intention to resume
travelling. In this case none were
currently travelling, but certain members did still travel. Others had travelled but were now permanently
resident, needing care by their families.
concluded they still had gypsy status.
On planning considerations the Council had twice-yearly counts which
showed the need for more gypsy sites but had not provided them. If he dismissed the appeals, the sick and
infirm residents would have to be relocated and there were no alternative
sites. He allowed the appeals but
limited occupation to named residents and 20 pitches with no more than two caravans
Gypsy site refused in
Gypsy site refused in Essex GB – The Court of Appeal was not convinced that a gypsy women’s health was sufficient reason to set aside the High Court refusal to allow the site. It was argued that the Inspector had not taken into account the lack of alternative mobile home sites. The Inspector was not obliged to consider in exhaustive detail whether the appellant’s rights under the Human Rights Convention would be violated. The Inspector had weighed her human rights against the harm to the Green Belt. No very special circumstances were proven. Bowers v 1st Sec of State 19 Feb 2004. Case C3/2003/2637
Surrey gypsies Human Rights plea dismissed – Two enforcement orders were
upheld requiring removal of caravans in the Surrey Hills GB, an area of
outstanding natural beauty. Although
this interfered with their human rights it was not a violation. In 2001 the European Court of Human Rights
ruled that simply because gypsies occupied a site on an unauthorised basis, it
did not automatically mean their human rights would be violated by an
enforcement order requiring vacation of the site. The Inspector said that refusal would not
place a disproportionate burden on the appellant.
Gypsy personal circumstances insufficient in
Bristol GB - A Court of
Appeal quashed a previous ruling, but the second Inspector also decided the
children’s educational needs and family health requirements were
insufficient to overrule GB policies. This
interference with their human rights was in the public interest and
proportionate to the harm caused.
Circus family get OK in West Sussex GB, on
personal circumstances grounds – The appellant and his
family lived in 3 caravans in a paddock, together with collapsible stabling,
horseboxes and trailers. They did not
travel in the same manner as gypsies of other show people. They performed at circuses, schools, social
functions, theatres and theme parks. The
appellant had health problems requiring regular specialist treatment only
available in main London hospitals, so he had to live within easy reach of
London. The Inspector decided that
suitable alternative sites were unlikely to be found so the appeal was unheld
subject to the submission of a planning application for site layout and
St Albans gypsies must move – A High Court injunction means that gypsies must move from a GB site. They had laid hard core to form a track and stationed mobile homes and caravans without permission. They claimed personal circumstances, children’s education and health needs and lack of alternative sites meant that, if moved, they would have to go to other unauthorised sites. The judge decided that the injunction was correct in view of serious breaches of planning control. St Albans City & DC v Daniels and others. 14 Oct 2003. Ref 02/TLQ/1800
Essex GB gypsies must move – The site was
mostly hard standings with 3 double-axle caravans. The appellant claimed it provided a permanent
home and winter base while travelling trading horses and fruit picking, plus a
substantial shortfall of authorised sites in the county, and eviction would
violate their human rights. The Inspector
ruled that sites must not be approved on an ad hoc basis but must be done
through the local plan review system.
The children were under school age and their medical state was not
serious enough to justify retaining this site.
The ODPM agreed that the harm to the openness substantially outweighed
the lack of alternative sites given the impending plan review. Protecting the GB was a matter of public
importance outweighing human rights of the family.
Building on Essex GB gypsy site rejected – The
brick-built building contained a substantial lounge, kitchen, bathroom and two
other rooms. The appellant claimed it
met the day-to-day needs of the 4 families living on the site giving access to
normal domestic facilities plus a good standard of living commensurate with
their traditional lifestyle. The
Inspector ruled that it was not a genuine communal facility and greatly
exceeded guidelines for day room provision on gypsy sites.
Herts GB gypsy refused temporary permission – A gypsy argued in the High Court that an Inspector’s refusal failed to have regard to the education and social well-being needs of his family. The judge disagreed because the family had no real affinity with the area, and their needs could be met in a more appropriate site elsewhere. Doherty v 1st SoS. 29 July 2003. Ref CO/1693/2003.
Sevenoaks gypsies given one week to go – Four travellers had been given 28 days suspended jail term for ‘substantial breaches’ of a previous court order. The Council went to Court again and the judge gave the travellers one week to remove their caravans and fencing otherwise they would go to jail. Sevenoaks DC v Murphy and others. June 2003. ref 03/ATC/0646
Gypsy site in Herts GB refused by DPM - An Irish traveller lived with his wife and
extended family in five caravans on GB land.
He claimed that there were insufficient official sites in the locality
and the family required a permanent site for stability and continuous education
of their children. The Council argued
that he was no longer a gypsy since he described himself as a landscape
gardener, but on balance the DPM ruled that on the balance of probabilities he
was still a gypsy under the Caravan Sites & Control of Development Act 1960
(Clarke-Gowan v SoS TLGR & N Wilts DC case). The DPM ruled that there was no evidence that
the claimants needs could not be met on an alternative site in the area. The appellant bought the appeal site without
consulting the Council and had carried out only a limited search for
alternative sites. Recognising this
decision interfered with the family’s human rights, the harm to the GB
was overriding. The appellant was given
two months to comply.
Gypsy’s human rights override harm to
Herts GB – In another case the DPM came to
the opposite conclusion. Five caravans
had occupied a Herts GB site for over a year and the Council refused planning
permission. There was an existing
permission for one mobile home and one touring caravan. The appellant argued that the extra caravans
would have negligible impact. The
Inspector disagreed that the access to regular work, health and education was a
very special circumstance. The DPM ruled
that refusal would violate human rights placing a disproportionate burden on
the families. Note – education of 10 children amounted to a very special
circumstance even though the families were not related – the appellant
had simply invited them onto the land.
Remote gypsy site allowed – not in the GB, but of
interest. In Somerset two gypsy
caravans, a portable building and shed were allowed despite being 3 or 4 km
from two small villages that lacked significant facilities. The Inspector noted that this was almost
beyond what might be a reasonable distance from facilities but the applicants
were in poor health. A clinical
psychologist said that if they were forced to move into permanent housing their
mental health would deteriorate. The Inspector
noted that since settling on this site their health had inmproved significantly
and he granted a personal permission for the applicants to live on the site
with their daughter.
S Bucks gypsy site refused by Appeal Court - the woman had lived on the site since 1985 without permission. The Inspector had given permission for her to remain there since there was no alternative site and she had chronically poor health, making a very special circumstance. This was confirmed by the High Court but overturned at the Court of Appeal where it was held that the inspector had not addressed the unlawfulness of her occupation of the site in breach of planning control. Merely to list the hardship was insufficient to deal with a land-use issue. S Bucks DC v SoSTLR 19 May 2003. Ref C1/2002/2018
Bristol permanent gypsy site refused - A proposed bungalow to house a gypsy
family was rejected as sporadic development harmful to the openness of the GB
and highway safety. Adjacent to a church and a large house, the site was
occupied by a caravan. The appellants said they had been unable to find
suitable housing in established settlements, being either too dear or they
would not be able to live amicably with neighbours. The Council and Inspector
agreed that the sight lines for the access were 41m against a national standard
of 120m. The Inspector said that many, not just gypsies, could not find
suitable affordable homes within established settlements so that was not a
'very special circumstance'
Herts GB gypsy site allowed - The Council said that the appellant did
not fall within the definition of a guypsy and so special considerations did
not apply for retention of 4 caravans in the GB. Enforcement notices required
removal of the caravans, mobile homes, equipment and hard core based on the
appellant no longer having a nomadic lifestyle. The Inspector noted various
Court cases holding that the nomadic habits could be seasonal, even with
relatively long periods of settlement, and still be classed as a gypsy. He was
born and bred in the gypsy lifestyle, and had not abandoned the nomadic life
even though he only moved within a 50km radius. There was also a shortage of
gypsy sites in the area. Permission was granted personally with a limit of 4
Doncaster GB gypsy site allowed without personal restriction - An Inspector allowed temporary permission for a mobile home and caravan following a High Court ruling that there was no need for a personal restriction on the use of the site. the Inspector said that the needs of the family were unlikely to be met by gypsy sites in the area, and refusal would mean the family moving from one unauthorised site to another. Approval was given for 3 years restricted to use by gypsies with no additional homes etc. aloowed. the High Court ruled it was a matter of judgement buy the Inspector whether to restrict the site to this one family. Doncaster MBC v 1st SoS 19 march 2003. Ref CO/5542/2002
GB policy overrules gypsy needs - A High Court judge ruled that although the local plan policy failed to deal with the need for additional gypsy sites the Inspector was entitled to support the Council's view that 3 caravans would harm the openness of the GB. Coyle v 1stv SoS 20 March 2003. Ref CO/5715/2002
Insufficient gypsy sites not sufficient reason -
4 gypsy caravans
occupied a site in the Bristol GB. They had removed the topsoil for a
hardstanding at the former paddock and erected a portable toilet. they claimed
the Council had failed to provide enough official sites, and they claimed
medical and educational needs. They also claimed that Human Rights legislation
overrode the need to maitain the character and openness of GB countryside. The
Inspector acknowledged their needs but they did not form a very special
circumstance. No human rights would be violated. He upheld an enforcement order
for their removal.
E London gypsies lose Human Rights case - not in the GB but of interest. Gypsies claimed they could not be evicted because they should have the same protection as secured tenants under the Human Rights laws. The judge disagreed saying that the Caravan Sites Act 1968 did not provide this security because of the 'actual or potential nomadism' of gypsies justified the special arrangements for local authority gypsy sites. While changing trends might require the law to be redefined, this was for the government to do. Smith v LB Barking & dagenham & others 19 Nov 2002. Ref CO/1842/2002
Essex gypsy eviction - no Human Rights breach - the Court of Appeal upheld a temporary injunction preventing gypsy families occupying a site in the Essex GB. Article 8 of the Human Rights European Convention was raised, claiming a disproportionate response to the GB harm caused and an adverse impact on their children's education and provision of medical treatment. However the gypsies accepted they had no right to remain on the land and there was no dispute over the GB status of the land. Epping Forest DC v Mason 4 Nov 2002. Ref A2/2002/1547
Essex GB gypsy site approved due to personal
circumstances - the
existing six caravans and structures had a harmful impact on the GB,
undermining a locally important landscape and reduced the GB effectiveness in
preventing the coalescence of two settlements. Against this was the age of the
appellants and state of health requiring care from other family members which
could not be guraanteed if the family was split onto different sites. Local
gypsy sites had no spare capacity and the appellants had a long-established
connection with the area. These personal circumstances justified a personal
permission, limiting occupation to one carer living permanently on the site.
the Deputy Prime Minister agredd, noting that although the appellant's son
would have to leave the site this did not violate his human rights. There was
no justification for others to live on the site given the level of harm to the
environment. Thurrock C 31 July 2002.
Gypsy educational needs not enough - The inspector rejected an appeal in Keston, Bromley, against refusal of planning permission for 4 gypsy families and 4 caravans with two washhouses and hard-standing in GB. He said the need for accommodation was not materially different from what had been considered in previous appeals and did not justify the present proposals.
The situation relating to arguments based on the educational needs of the children seemed to be confused. Such arguments had been considered in 1992 and 1996. The seven children now involved had been out of school since 1998, but it was not clear what contact had been made with the education service since then. The appellant claimed that the circumstances of two of the children had worsened, but supporting letters he produced referred to different children and he could not give specific details of those to whom he referred. The Inspector said that in any event there was no proof that this was the only site from which the educational need could be met. Though educational needs can be a very special circumstance, it does not follow that they can justify development on any GB land, and in his view they did not do so in this case.
Arguments were also put forward citing the European Convention on Human Rights. The inspector dismissed one because the word 'home' did not include a property on which one wished to locate a home; and he dismissed the other because it had not been demonstrated that the right to education was dependent on residence at the appeal site. He dismissed the appeal awarding costs to the Council noting that the dismissal would not result in a violation of the rights of the intended residents under the Convention. June 2002
Travel with caravan in search of work does not make claimant a gypsy. - A stonemason and bricklayer travelled around the country in a caravan in search of work. The claimant argued that he was a gypsy and qualified for special consideration to site his caravan in the Wiltshire countryside. An Inspector disagreed and this was confirmed in the High Court. The judge said he was no different from any other person engaged in building who were not nomadic or gypsies. Clarke-Gowan v SoSETR 13 June 2002. Ref CO/1010/2002.
Billericay gypsies lose despite shortage of
sites - Despite a
national and local shortage of sites, the Inspector refused an appeal to site
two caravans in the GB rear Billericy. The local plan process was addressing
the issue in the area so permission was not justified even on a temporary
basis. The High Court judge agreed with the Inspector that it was a matter for
planning judgement. Clark & another v SoS
Gypsy's approval was 'perverse' - An Inspector had upheld an appeal to allow
a gypsy family to remain on a site in the GB. Doncaster MBC went to Court and
the judge decided that the Inspector's ruling 'bordered on the perverse'. The
Inspector ruled that the appellant's son and daughter's educational needs
justified retention of a mobile home and septic tank, so he quashed enforcement
notices. The Council argued that this set an undesirable precedent which would
be used by many gypsies against other councils. The judge said the educational
needs were not unusual and concerns about the precedent were justified. There
were no 'very special circumstances' to justify this inappropriate development
in the GB.Doncaster MBC v Sos
Gypsies and Human Rights - 2002 case - The Court of Appeal decided that
enforcement action to evict gypsies breached article 8 of the European
Convention on Human Rights. But 3 local authorities have been given permission
to take the case to the House of Lords. South Bucks DC, Chichester DC, and
Unrestricted use of gypsy site in Bristol GB
refused - Planning
consent for a Bristol GB gypsy site included two conditions. One restricted
occupation to named individuals, and the other required cessation of use should
all three sisters living there cease to occupy it permanently. In 1998, the S/S
granted a 2-year temporary permission, and the council subsequently issued a
personal permission removing the temporary restriction. In considering an
appeal, the Inspector decided the number of caravans exceeded the permitted
number, and they were visually intrusive in their open and natural
surroundings. The harm to the GB had therefore increased since the 1998 approval.
The 1998 approval was based on the personal circumstances of the sisters, not
their relatives. If permitted the occupation would be for a far longer period
than that approved in 1998. The lack of alternative accommodation did not
outweigh the harm to the GB. S Glcs Council. 20 dec 2001.
'Gypsies' appeal dismissed re 'pylon site' on Barnet Road, Potters Bar - In June 2001 six gypsy families were allowed to challenge a High Court judgement requiri ng them to vacate a site at Potters Bar, removing their caravans, mobile homes and vehicles. The Court of Appeal permitted this challenge after hearing that they had moved onto the site after closure of a local transit site and there was no space available on authorised sites. The families claimed the move would make them homeless and the education of 16 school-age children would be disrupted. This breached the Council's obligations under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, violating thei r right to respect for their homes, private and family lives. The judge said there was an arguable case that the local authority had erred in treating the human rights aspect of the case as a 'mere planning consideration', failing to carry out a proper balancing exercise in assessing the families' welfare needs. The High Court ruling was therefore open to challenge. At the end of October the Welwyn Hatfield Times reported that the gypsies had lost their appeal, but they might take the case to the House of Lords. We do not have the details as to why they lost.
Gypsy site in Wigan GB rejected - The Court of Appeal upheld the Inspector's refusal to allow retention of a caravan occupied by gypsies in the Wigan GB. The appellant claimed the Inspector did not consider national advice requiring local authorities to make adequate provision for gypsy caravan sites. Although the Inspector doubted the adequacy, the caravan was sited in a very prominent and sensitive tract of the GB whose protection was of overriding importance. The appellant had not shown that any other less damaging or sensitive site was not available. Evans v. SosETR 10 Oct 2001. Ref C/2001/1680
Potters Bar gypsies - Human Rights appeal - Six gypsy families can challenge a High Court judgement requiring them to vacate a site at Potters Bar, removing their caravans, mobile homes and vehicles. The Court of Appeal has permitted this challenge after hearing that they had moved onto the site after closure of a local transit site and there was no space available on authorised sites. The families claimed the move would make them homeless and the education of 16 school-age children would be disrupted. This breached the Council's obligations under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, violating their right to respect for their homes, private and fanmily lives. The judge said there was an arguable case that the local authority had erred in treating the human rights aspect of the case as a 'mere planning consideration', failing to carry out a proper balancing exercise in assessing the fanmilies' welfare needs. The High Court ruling was therefore open to challenge. Hertsmere BC v Harty & others 21.6.2001. Ref A2/01/0731/A. Note - click here for a different ruling by the European Court Update 22 October 2001 - They lost their appeal, but might take the case to the House of Lords according to the Welwyn Hatfield Times.
Bromley Showpeople HQ retained in GB - An Inspector had allowed 23 fairground families to
retain their HQ on a GB site in an area of special landscape value. L/B Bromley
challenged this decision but the High Court upheld the Inspector's decision.
L/B Bromley argued that the site was unsightly and inappropriate in the GB. The
judge said the inspector had considered all of these points and the decision
should stand. L/B Bromley v SoS
Sissinghurst Gypsy site refusal did not violate their human
rights - Although not in the GB,
gypsies were refused consent to put a caravan on a site at Sissinghurst, Kent
and the Inspector ruled that this did not violate articles 8 and 14 of the
European Convention on Human Rights. This was in accordance with L/B Greenwich
v Powell 1989 i.e. a person may be a gypsy even though a nomadic lifestyle is
led for only seasonally and involves the use of a fixed abode for part of the
year. On that basis the appellant was a gypsy. The appellant's right to family
life under article 8 had to be balanced against the economic well-being of the
country and this included preservation of the environment. In this case the
development inflicted substantial harm to a special landscape area. The
Inspector also ruled that there was no indication that the appellant would
suffer discrimination as a result of the appeal being dismissed in comparison
with a person of any other status who might wish to establish a similar use in
a comparable location. Tunbridge Wells BC 28 March 2001
Basildon travelling showpeople win appeal with costs - A 1ha GB site has been approved for 4 plots for
residential caravans together with vehicles and fairground equipment.
Premission had previously been refused. The Inspector agreed with an earlier
colleague that it was inappropriate reducing the openness of the GB and harmed
the semi-rural area. Having previously been refused, the appellants searched
for a suitable site , both larger and smaller, without success. This amounted
to a very special circumstance. Another very special circumstance was the 10
children, 8 of them attending local schools. Costs were awarded because the
Council failed to produce appropriate evidence following the refusal, and
rejected the advice of its officers, relying upon the previous appeal decision.
Basildon DC 14 Feb 2001
Need for gypsy sites outweighs Sevenoaks GB harm - The Secretary of State granted permission for 4 gypsy
sites after accepting the Inspector's advice that there was a severe shortage
of gypsy sites in the locality, and all the existing sites in that district
were in the GB. Refusal would lead to more unauthorised encampments disrupting
family life and the children's education. this was a very special circumstance,
warranting permission. Conditions were imposed on restricting the number of
caravans and occupancy to persons of gypsy status. Sevenoaks DC 23 Feb 2001
Bristol Gypsy site approved because of lack of suitable
sites - 2 gypsy pitches with a
total capacity of 6 caravans were approved by the SoS on Bristol GB land. This
overturned a 1992 dismissal of an appeal against enforcement notices requiring
the site to be cleared. Since 1992 the Council had not provided any more gypsy
sites. The SoS accepted the substantial shortfall of suitable sites regionally
and locally which was unlikely to be remedied in the immediate future. Refusal
would encourage itinerant roadside camping, and be a serious interference with
the appellant's right to a home under article 8 of the European Convention on
Human Rights. A personal consent was granted rather than unrestricted occupation
by any gypsy family. South Gloucester Council 29 Jan 2001. Ref
APP/P0119/A/00/1043427. Note If there is a clear shortage of permanent gypsy sites
Showpeople site approved in GB - The SoS reversed his previous decision and allowed 23 plots on a 5.5 ha site in the Metropolitan GB as permanent accommodation for travelling showpeople. Although the use was inappropriate and harmful to the openness of the area, very special circumstances justified reversing the previous refusal. After the refusal the applicants extended their search for a suitable site to include all 33 London Boroughs and contacted 80 estate agents without success. This level of coverage was deemed sufficient to show that alternative sites might exist, free from GB and landscape constraints, no such site had been identified. London Borough of Bromley. 11 January 2001. Ref. APP/G5180/A/00/1041454
Gypsy transit site refused in Bristol GB - The Sec of State refused a transit site for 10 residential caravans for gypsies in the Bristol GB. The appellant argued that there was a substantial need for more gypsy sites in the area, a recent count showing 43 families with a total of 133 caravans on unauthorised sites. The Inspector agreed that very special circumstances included the lack of transit sites, the substantial unmet need for permanent sites, and the site location next to 2 motorways. The appeal was lost because the access was sub-standard and an appropriate visual splay could not be achieved. Approval could prejudice any future provision of gypsy sites in the area should a negative condition (re the splay) be imposed since the site would be taken into account when assessing future needs. S. Gloucestershire Council 20.1.2000 - APP/P0119/A/00/1043177.
Tandridge Gypsy site in GB refused - The Inspector refused an appeal for a single gypsy caravan on a 0.3 ha site in the GB. Previous appeals had failed in 1993 and 1998. There was no substantive need proven for additional gypsy caravan sites to warrant granting permission. The appellant could have found a pitch on a council-operated site despite his arguments that the site suffered problems of violence and drug abuse. Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the right of the appellant to occupy their home free from interference did not overrule the need to protect the GB. Also, evidence produced was contradictory. Tandridge Council 24 Oct 2000 - T/APP/M3645/A/00/1037269
Gypsy use of land retained. - Gravesham Council (Kent) failed to provide an alternative site so a gypsy family retained the right to use GB land for 2 caravans and a toilet. The Inspector acknowledged the conflict with GB policy but there was a need to provide the appellant with a home in the areawith no alternative sites. A permanent residence was not allowed, only 3 years temporary permission to give time to find a more suitable site.
Travelling showpeople's store would encroach into GB - The Secretary of State agreed with the DETR Inspector in refusing temporary permission for this being a clear encroachment into the open countryside, and contribute to sprawl in the GB between Guildford and Aldershot. A similar proposal on the same site was refused in 1988 for the same reasons. There were no very special circumstances to justify allowing such development in the GB.
Gypsy family lose right to station caravan in field due to fears for rural character of the area. - Not in GB, but Blaby District Council (Leicester) granted temporary permission in 1996 for use of the site near Enderby to house a caravan, toilet and washroom facilities. Council refused to renew consent because of the adverse impact on the appearance and character of the surrounding landscape. The DETR Inspector noted the appellant's desire to live in the area to provide a settled base for his children's education, but still dismissed the appeal. (N Mymms GBS comment - an interesting comparison with Swan Yard, Bell Bar.