Casebook: Appeal Cases - Gypsies and Travellers - Family needs held to outweigh countryside impact

An inspector has allowed the retention of a Gypsy caravan site in Somerset after concluding that the family's medical and educational needs carried sufficient weight to justify granting a temporary permission.

The appellant lived on the site with her four children and brother-in-law. She argued that there was a general need for additional Gypsy sites in the district and no spare capacity at official sites. She explained that her youngest son's significant language and learning difficulties required constant treatment by therapists and educational psychologists.

Her other children attended school regularly and were making good progress, she added.

The inspector agreed with the council that the site was remote from local villages and schools. However, he decided that the lack of alternative sites and the personal circumstances of the family were overriding. Dismissing the appeal would make it more difficult for the children to continue with their education and access to health care facilities would also be undermined, he determined.

He rejected objections from a radio-controlled aircraft club on an adjoining field. The club had warned that the proximity of the caravans increased the risk of one of their planes hitting the appellant or one of her family.

He decided that the risk of collision was acceptable, although he noted that the model planes created noise disturbance. In view of the site's poor location and the noise nuisance, he decided that a two-year personal permission was justified. He imposed a further condition preventing the use of the site for trade or business.

DCS No: 100039092; Inspector: Chris Anstey; Hearing.

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