Gypsy and traveller encampments are not universally popular, not least because of the impact that they can have on neighbouring homeowners. However, one High Court case strikingly showed that, with the right legal advice, resistance to such developments can succeed.
A local authority granted planning permission for four caravan pitches in the open countryside. A local resident objected and instructed lawyers to mount a judicial review challenge. In upholding their arguments, the Court found that the decision-maker had failed to properly consider whether the proposal conformed to key provisions of the local development plan.
The Court found that consent should have been refused due to the harm that the encampment would cause to ancient woodland. Given the proposal’s conflict with a policy to conserve and restore the local landscape, the decision-maker should not have concluded that, on balance, it accorded with the development plan as a whole. That policy did not permit the need for further gypsy and traveller sites in the area to be taken into account as a planning consideration.