Temporary site allowed in top landscape

An inspector has decided that temporary permission should be granted to enable a Gypsy family to continue living on land in the Sussex Downs area of outstanding natural beauty despite the substantial harm caused.

The appellant had occupied the appeal site with his wife and four children since 2003. Before that they lived by the roadside. The appellant said he wished his children to continue their education in local schools and have access to health care facilities. He explained that his name was on a number of waiting lists for Gypsy pitches in the district and in neighbouring authorities, while a search for alternative sites had also been carried out.

The inspector agreed with the council that the development caused substantial harm to the natural beauty of the area, which was covered by the proposed designation order for the South Downs national park. Set against this harm was the fact that the family would in all probability be evicted from the site if the appeal was dismissed and no suitable alternative site had been identified.

The inspector found that the council was unlikely to have identified suitable permanent residential Gypsy sites until 2010 and on this basis concluded that a temporary permission was justified. In reaching this view, she placed particular weight on paragraphs 45 and 46 of Circular 01/06 on the use of temporary permissions where there is an unmet need for additional sites and no Gypsy and traveller sites are immediately available.

DCS Number 100-050-169

Inspector Karen Ridge; Inquiry.

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