Two brothers lived on the site with their wives and children. They had divided the land into three parts separated by a fenced paddock. Each plot contained a mobile home and amenity block and an access road had been created. The appellants maintained that the unmet need for additional sites and the large numbers of children living on the land justified granting permission.
The inspector decided that the access, residential-style gates, extensive hardstandings, mobile homes, touring caravans and vehicles significantly harmed the site's openness. While conceding that planting would mitigate the impacts, she did not expect this to happen in the short to medium term.
She accepted that a Gypsy and traveller assessment for the area probably underestimated the need for extra pitches. However, the council was pursuing its local development framework and searching for a site to accommodate between ten and 12 pitches. Funding had been secured towards achieving this goal by 2012 at the latest. She saw considerable scope to find sites outside the green belt and flood risk areas.
The families had vacated authorised sites and one had the option of returning. In this light, the inspector gave only moderate weight to their personal needs. Granting a temporary permission could oblige the council to issue a further enforcement notice at the end of the period, she remarked. In her view, it was preferable to extend the period of compliance to 12 months, by which time a new site might be provided.
DCS Number 100-069-839
Inspector Lucy Drake; Hearing