Development Control Casebook: Gypsies and Travellers - Temporary use won for green belt site

An appellant and his family have secured temporary permission to live in six caravans in the Lancashire green belt in light of a lack of alternative sites, personal considerations and limited impact on the area's openness.

The site was occupied by the appellant, his wife and seven children, his parents and his brother and wife, all of whom had Gypsy status. The appellant and his brother derived half their income from breeding horses kept on adjoining land. He claimed that the parents were in poor health, with his father requiring regular hospital visits.

Family members relied on each other for support and the children had educational needs, he explained. He asserted that there was a need to identify pitches in the district, rather than rely on meeting any need in adjoining authorities, following revocation of regional spatial strategies (RSSs). No pitches were likely to be allocated for several years and the appeal should succeed in the absence of suitable and available sites, he asserted.

The inspector agreed that circumstances had changed since dismissal of previous appeals in 2008. Due to the relatively high level of Gypsy site provision in the district, the RSS had proposed that between 20 and 23 pitches should be accommodated in other districts across the county to improve distribution. RSS revocation meant that need would have to be met locally, she decided.

She noted that the council had permitted only ten additional pitches, so there was likely to be significant unmet demand. The shortage of alternative sites was likely to improve because the council would be required to identify new pitches, she reasoned. In these circumstances, she decided that harm to the green belt and highway safety could be mitigated by a three-year permission limiting occupation to the family.

DCS Number 100-069-778

Inspector Karen Ridge; Hearing

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