Casebook: Appeal Cases - Gypsies and travellers - Pitches approved despite harm to landscape

An inspector has granted permission to retain a Gypsy site in Herefordshire with 26 pitches despite voicing his reservations about its adverse impact on the landscape.

The inspector agreed with the council that the harm to the landscape could be mitigated by the use of conditions but judged that it could not be removed entirely. Although the council had not carried out any proper assessment of the accommodation needs of either Gypsies or travellers, he accepted that there was a need for more sites and that no realistic alternative locations were available for families living on the appeal site.

He concluded that closing the site would inevitably lead to an increase in unlawful camping elsewhere in the area. The adverse consequences of such dispersed and unauthorised camping, both for the individuals concerned and for society generally, were important considerations that weighed in favour of granting permission subject to conditions, he ruled.

In allowing the appeal, the inspector noted that many who gave evidence at the inquiry did not fall within the statutory definition of a Gypsy. On that basis, he decided that permission to occupy the land should be made personal to those who complied with the statutory definition and those who were not Gypsies would have to find alternative accommodation.

DCS No: 42159976; Inspector: Simon Emerson; Inquiry.

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