Mobile home park limits sites for travelling showmen

The change of use of part of a site used as travelling showmen's quarters in Leicestershire to eight permanent residential mobile homes, was rejected because it contravened countryside policies and would limit the supply of sites for the travelling community.

200-002-916 (Image Credit: North West Leicestershire DC)
200-002-916 (Image Credit: North West Leicestershire DC)

Planning permission had been granted on appeal in 2001 for a showman’s depot and this had been partially implemented with some of the plots being sold to other showmen. But the appellant asserted the demand for the remaining residential hardstandings was very limited and sought consent to site mobile homes available to  open market purchasers. Although the site lay within the countryside he relied in part on the council’s decision to allocate the site for employment purposes thereby effectively removing it from the countryside.

It was not unusual to allocate sites for development in the countryside the inspector determined but this did not remove the need to control unrestricted residential development in such locations which national planning policy sought to discourage. The council had undertaken an assessment of the need for gypsy and travellers sites including land required by travelling showmen. Third parties at the hearing alluded to the need for further sites and the inability of some travelling showmen to reach agreement with the appellant in respect of acquiring some of the remaining plots for their permitted use. In her opinion there was no substantial evidence about a lack of demand for the sites and if the appeal was allowed it would lead to an overall shortage of plots based on the council’s assessment.

Inspector: Isobel McCretton; Hearing

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