Enforcement action upheld on appeal in respect of two unsuitable locations for gypsy sites

01 Jan 2018

Planning and Environment, Public Law and Judicial Review

Appeal Refs: APP/N0410/C/15/3078099 & 3078100
Land adjacent to Alderbourne Cottage (Area 1), Fulmer Lane, Fulmer,
Buckinghamshire SL9 7BL Appeal Refs;


APP/N0410/C/15/3129769 & 3129770
Land adjacent to Alderbourne Cottage (Area 2), Fulmer Lane, Fulmer,
Buckinghamshire SL9 7BL

In her decision letter dated 15/03/2017 Diane Lewis an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State dismissed two appeals made under section 174 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 in respect of adjoining gypsy and traveller sites in South Bucks. The cases involved sites which were in the green belt, within ancient woodland, within the setting of a listed building causing less than substantial harm to its significance, within a biodiversity opportunity area, and within the designated Colne Valley Park in a local authority where there is an acknowledged need for traveller pitches.

Diane Lewis, an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State, concluded in respect of each site as follows.

In respect of the Ground (a) appeal for a temporary 3 year permission for each site respectively:

(1) That the totality of the harm to the Green Belt in this location has a degree more than substantial weight, taking into account the scale of the development, the harm to openness and the temporary permission sought (paragraphs [73] and [168]);

(2) That the development has resulted in the loss and deterioration of an irreplaceable ancient woodland habitat. The harm is serious and ongoing and should be given significant weight (paragraphs [78] and [173]);

(3) That the development has resulted in a locally significant loss of biodiversity and that this harm should be given significant weight ([84] and [177]);

(4) That the loss of woodland cover and the creation of an open clearing detract from a sense of enclosure. The insertion of caravans, hard surfaced areas, close boarded fencing and other domestic features has an urbanising effect, causing harm to the rural landscape character and the parkland setting, this harm should be given significant weight ([88] and [180]);

(5) That the less than substantial harm caused to the setting of a listed building by the development should attract significant weight in accordance with paragraph 134 of the NPPF ([98] and [185]);

(6) As to the main factors weighing in favour of the development, that personal need together with the lack of an alternative, available site for each family that is acceptable, affordable and suitable, has considerable weight. In this context the best interests of the children have significant weight, unmet need has moderate weight, as does the absence of an up-to-date 5 year supply of deliverable sites in South Bucks District ([112] and [203]);

(7) The harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness, and the other identified harm, is not clearly outweighed by other considerations when they are weighed in the balance collectively. Very special circumstances do not exist to justify the development for a time limited period. ([113] and [204]);

(8) In a separate proportionality assessment for each appeal it was concluded that interference with the private rights of the family is necessary and proportionate ([114-127] and [205 -219]).

The Notices were upheld subject to minor corrections and variations ([237]-[242]) and a compliance period substituted for each site of twelve months to cease the use and remove the caravans, with a further two months to remove the associated works and operational development, reinstate the hedgerow and remove plant and debris ([156] and [235]).

Click here for a copy of the Inspector’s decision.

David Lintott acted for the Local Planning Authority in the Inquiry. Cornerstone Barristers regularly acts for both Developers and Local Planning Authorities in a wide range of planning matters. For more information please contact 020 7242 4986 or email clerks@cornerstonebarristers.com.