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Occupiers of the unauthorised traveller site at Shurlock Road, Waltham St Lawrence have left the land voluntarily

In the case of Eastwood v The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (10/05/16) [2016] EWCA Civ 437 [2016] H.L.R. 22 the Court of Appeal (Arden, Floyd, Sales LJJ) in dismissing an appeal by travellers, held that proportionality was not for the Court on a judicial review claim in which an applicant sought to challenge the decision of a local authority to take direct action, pursuant to s.178 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, to remove travellers from land.

A subsequent application for permission to take the case to the Supreme Court was refused. The Appellant had sought to judicially review a decision of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to take direct action to remove travellers occupying a site in the borough after the expiry of the compliance period on an enforcement notice.

Following refusal of permission by the Supreme Court, the Council took into account all material considerations including an update on personal circumstances since the initial decision to take direct action had been taken. At a cabinet prioritisation sub committee meeting on Wednesday 18 January the council agreed to serve notice of the council's intention to take direct action on the occupiers. The sub committee agreed to allow a notice period of 14 days before entering the land.

The council carried out a compliance visit last week and found that the travellers had voluntarily vacated the land over the weekend of 4 and 5 February. This outcome represents a major victory for the residents of Waltham St Lawrence who had endured the breach of planning control while the court process ran its course.

David Lintott acted for the successful Council in the Court of Appeal. Click here for a summary of that decision and here for the decision itself.