Recovery of appeal leads to rejection of inspector's decision

In deciding to recover an appeal seeking continued occupation of a gypsy site in Bedfordshire the secretary of state disagreed with one of his inspectors and refused to grant consent for the retention of four pitches and two amenity blocks.

Temporary permission had been granted in 2009. The appellant along with his wife and children claimed that there was an unmet need for further pitches. A planned development of 14 pitches supported by the council and scheduled to be available in 2015 was unsuitable, he alleged, because of problems with odour from a sewage treatments works, road noise and flood risk. He further claimed that the recovery of the appeal by the secretary of state was unfair and jurisdiction should be returned to the inspector for his sole determination.

There was little doubt that additional pitches were required, the secretary of state conceded, but in his opinion the planned pitches would meet the requirement over the next five years and he had little doubt that the council would be able to provide a satisfactory living environment for future residents. The personal circumstances of the appellant and his three children carried considerable weight but he did not believe that dismissing the appeal would lead the family to live by the roadside. Rather, there was scope to accommodate them on an authorised traveller site or for the appellant to return to his father’s site which he had left. Having balanced the factors in favour of granting either permanent or temporary permission the secretary of state, in disagreeing with his inspector, held that the scheme occupied an unsustainable location with limited access other than by private car.

Inspector: John Felgate; Inquiry

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