Casebook: Appeal cases - Gypsies and Travellers - Permanent site justified by personal grounds

An inspector has decided that it would be preferable to grant permanent permission for three Gypsy caravans at a site in Suffolk due to the personal needs of the occupants and the absence of alternative sites.

The site formed part of a large field in undulating countryside and was occupied by six people. The appellant explained that her husband suffered from severe diabetes, high blood pressure and depression and that her daughter suffered from asthma and curvature of the spine. The inspector observed that the caravans were effectively screened from public views by substantial hedging on three sides.

Changes to the site access to comply with highway authority requirements would increase the impact of the development on the character of the countryside, he considered. Against this adverse impact he set the general need for additional Gypsy sites in the borough and the absence of any alternative sites for the families involved.

He decided that forcing the appellant and her family to adopt a lifestyle of successive short-term unauthorised encampments would be unacceptable, bearing in mind their vulnerability and health needs. Consequently, he allowed the appeal subject to conditions making occupation of the site personal to the appellant and her family and limiting the number of caravans to a maximum of three.

DCS No: 100039280; Inspector: David Smith; Inquiry.

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