Casebook: Appeal cases - Gypsies and Travellers - Long compliance period justified before relocation

In determining an appeal involving an extension to the period for compliance with an enforcement notice requiring the removal of a Gypsy family living in caravans in Essex, an inspector has agreed that an unusually long compliance period was justified to assess whether a council site was suitable and available.

The appellants stated that they had no desire to occupy conventional housing and it was necessary to provide a settled existence for their children. Although the council was in the process of redeveloping a traveller site nearby, the appellants insisted that they did not wish to live on it.

The inspector agreed that it was desirable to provide regular education in a familiar and settled environment for the children and this had to be given considerable weight. However, he noted that the appellants had not taken up the council's offer to discuss relocating.

In deciding whether the period for compliance with the notice should be extended, he decided that it was particularly unsafe for a young family to "take to the road" in search of another site. This would lead to disjointed education and health care, he held. It seemed to him that it could take them considerable time to find another site should they decide not to occupy a pitch on the council-run site. He therefore concluded that the period for compliance should be extended, granting the family 22 months to move off the site.

DCS No: 35335353; Inspector: Felix Bourne; Hearing.

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