Travellers lose High Court challenge over secretary of state appeal refusals

The High Court has dismissed two travellers' claims that the former secretary of state Sir Eric Pickles' handling of their planning appeals breached equality laws and their human rights, ruling that the judicial reviews had been filed too late.

London's Royal Courts of Justice
London's Royal Courts of Justice

The two had brought their challenges in the wake of a ruling earlier this year in which it was found that Pickles' intervention in a series of Gypsy and traveller planning appeals was unlawful.

Irish traveller Bernadette Mulvenna had sought permission for her family to live in caravans on land at Shannon Moor Stables, on Aveling Drive, Southport.

Romany Gypsy Elias Smith wanted to live with his family and keep horses on land at Moss Lane, Knuzden, Blackburn.

Both claimed that they were victims of Pickles' recovery policy and had wanted the court to rule that their cases should be reconsidered.

But the judge said that their appeals "fail because they are late".

He added that there was no basis on which he should extend time beyond the strict limits that apply to such challenges.

He said that it had been accepted by the current secretary of state that the decision to recover the appeals for his own determination had been "unlawful".

But he continued: "However, the difficulty Ms Mulvenna and Mr Smith face is that their challenges are well out of time. Planning judicial reviews must be filed not later than six weeks after the grounds to make the claim arise."

Here, Mulvenna had issued her claim 20 months after the decision, and Smith was almost 15 months late.

Mulvenna & Anr v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Case Number: CO/1061/2015

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