The inspector concluded that the need for additional Gypsy sites and the council’s inability to deliver suitable alternative accommodation meant temporary permission for four years should be granted, limited to occupation by the appellant and his closest relatives. She accepted that the site’s green belt location did not justify a permanent permission, finding that the council’s housing strategy would ultimately lead to more appropriate sites coming forward. A temporary consent would enable children living on the relatively small site to continue their education, she advised.
While accepting that these matters were material to his consideration, the secretary of state placed greater weight on harm to openness and visual amenity and to the fact that the family were not currently living on the site. In his view, dismissing the appeal would not make them homeless but was likely to perpetuate their itinerant lifestyle.
He did not accept that unmet need for sites had prevented one of the proposed occupiers from getting married and judged it likely that the children would still be able to attend the local school, so their interests were safeguarded. Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights was qualified by the need for decisions to be proportionate and in accordance with the law, he remarked. Consequently, he held that the planning balance lay in dismissing the appeal.
Inspector: Frances Mahoney; Hearing