Gypsy site secures temporary permission

The secretary of state has granted temporary permission for an extended Gypsy family to stay in the Buckinghamshire green belt after placing significant weight on the needs of a disabled child.

A planning application submitted in 2004 for 12 caravans had been refused, a decision that had been supported by the secretary of state on appeal. The appellant claimed that the council had subsequently failed to identify alternative sites for Gypsies and travellers. In addition, he explained that a child born in 2005 had Down's syndrome, two holes in the heart and a damaged immune system and needed a permanent home while receiving treatment at a specialist hospital.

The secretary of state agreed that although the precise shortfall was not known, there was a significant unmet need for Gypsy and traveller sites. There were no private Gypsy sites in the district and all the public sites were full, she found. The needs of the large family meant that the chances of finding an alternative site for all of them were slim, she agreed.

However, she decided that the permanent permission recommended by the inspector was not fully justified. In her opinion, there was a realistic prospect that alternative sites would be identified by the council in development plan documents. The disabled child's needs made it appropriate to grant a temporary permission for five years, restricted to the appellant and his family, she ruled.

DCS Number 100-050-320

Inspector Ruth MacKenzie; Inquiry.

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