DC Casebook: Court Cases - Permaculture caravan decision backed

The owners of a permaculture operation in Shropshire have failed to overturn an inspector's refusal to grant permission for caravans on the land in a High Court challenge.

The couple moved onto the site in 2005 to establish an eco-friendly farm intended to provide them with a self-sufficient existence. Two years later, the council required them to vacate the site and remove the unauthorised caravans. An appeal inspector upheld the council's decision on the basis of a lack of need and impact on the Shropshire Hills area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

The claimants argued that the inspector had failed to consider their human rights and the effect of eviction on their well-being and health. Mr Justice Lindblom rejected the challenge, concluding that the AONB location required very strict control over new development. In his view, the inspector was entitled to conclude that the couple had made a genuine effort to establish a viable holding but the visual impact on the landscape was overriding.

Wheelhouse v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Date 21 October 2010

Ref CO/1238/2009

Editor's comment: Appeals by this couple involving a storage building and polytunnel were reported in Casebook last week (DCS Number 100-069-440). Both were allowed despite a previous scheme being dismissed. The inspector concluded that significant changes made the plans acceptable, including their visual impact and differences in the policy background. However, the court ruling means that the owners cannot reside on the land.

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