Residential caravans allowed in AONB

An inspector granted a personal permanent permission for two residential caravans and a stable building in the Sussex AONB and quashed enforcement action against use of the land as a gyspy site in breach of a time limiting condition.

Temporary planning permission had been granted on appeal in 2009 and subsequently extended by the council, allowing occupation of the site by an extended family, on the basis that this would allow time for the council to identify additional gypsy sites to meet an acknowledged need.

The inspector held this justification was no longer relevant, as none of the appellants now met the policy definition of gypsies and travellers given that they no longer had a travelling lifestyle irrespective of their Romany gypsy ethnicity, and so they would not be eligible for a pitch on a gypsy and traveller site. He also noted the council had no plans for meeting the needs of such non-definitional gypsies wishing to continue living in caravans and there was no rational basis for a further temporary period.

Weighing the relevant planning considerations in the deemed application, the inspector found only limited harm to AONB such that dismissing the appeal would interfere with the appellants’ human rights to continue their lifestyle and live in caravans. In the absence of suitable alternative accommodation, the inspector was in no doubt that it would be in the best interests of a child to remain on the site rather live on the roadside and this carried great weight along with other personal circumstances in his decision to grant a personal permission subject to other conditions including mitigation of the effects on the AONB through hedgerow planting .

Inspector: John Murray; Inquiry

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