Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

Gypsy and Traveller Cases

R (VC) v North Somerset Council (Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening) CO/3801/2015

This claim concerned a challenge brought by an Irish Traveller to a “local connection” requirement contained within North Somerset Council’s housing allocations scheme, which had been extended beyond Part VI Housing Act 1996 allocations to cover Gypsy/Traveller site allocations. The effect of that requirement was that the Claimant, who could not point to a local connection to North Somerset, was denied entry to the Council’s housing register.

Connors -v- Forest of Dean DC

Connors v Forest of Dean DC, Bristol County Court, Recorder Blunt QC

Ms Connors is an Irish Traveller with 5 children, 2 of whom are disabled owing to a lung condition and hearing impairments. She had travelled all her life except for a short period in which she lived in a house. In June 2014 she had to leave a Traveller site in Stroud and relocated to the Forest of Dean District Council (‘FoD’) area.

R (Mulvenna and Smith) – v – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Equality and Human Rights Commission

R (Mulvenna and Smith) – v – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Equality and Human Rights Commission [2015] EWHC 3494 (Admin), 4th December 2015

This case followed on from the case of R (Moore and Coates) – v – SSCLG (see the CLP website at:- (

St Edmundsbury Borough Council – v – Oakley

St Edmundsbury Borough Council – v – Oakley [2015] EWHC 1975 (QB), 10 July 2015, Mrs Justice Patterson

The defendant had planning permission for a single Gypsy site but injunction action under Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Section 187B was taken against her for bringing on a residential touring caravan in an unauthorised location, use of the stable block for residential purposes and other matters.  An injunction order was granted on 17 December 2014 but was not complied with.  Committal action was taken.

The Traveller Movement and Others – v – J D Wetherspoon Plc

The Traveller Movement and Others – v – J D Wetherspoon Plc, Central London County Court, 18 May 2015, HHJ Hand QC

On 17th November 2011 the annual Traveller Movement Conference took place.  As usual the Conference took place at the offices of the Traveller Movement (offices shared with other organisations) at the Resource Centre on Holloway Road in London.  Also as usual, after the Conference, some of the delegates went for a drink to the Coronet public house next door,  a public house run by J D Wetherspoon.   There was no evidence of any problems having been caused in previous years or in this year by delegates from the Conference.  However, there was evidence of problems following on from a Conference at the Resource Centre in 2005 on the occasion of the Anarchist Book Fair.

Reilly – v – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Reilly – v – SSCLG and Hinckley and Bosworth BC [2015] EWHC 1957 (Admin) 15 July 2015, Mrs Justice Lang.

The claimant was an Irish Traveller and one of a group of Travellers who lived at a site called the Good Friday Site in Leicestershire.  An application for planning permission was refused and an appeal was made to a Planning Inspector.  The Inspector refused the site permission and gave great significance to highways safety at the access and especially to the fact that there had been a fatal crash at the access when a vehicle was trying to turn in.

Wenman –v- The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (SSCLG) and

Wenman –v- SSCLG [2015] EWHC 925 (Admin), 21 April 2015, Mrs Justice Lang

Mr Wenman is a Romani Gypsy who was seeking permission for a one pitch Gypsy Site for him and his family.  He was unsuccessful before the local planning authority and also before the Planning Inspector. He appealed to the High Court under Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Section 288 on the basis that the Planning Inspector had failed to properly address the relevance of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  The First Defendant, the Secretary of State, argued that NPPF was not relevant here and what was relevant was only Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (PPTS).

R(Patrick Mahoney, Frances Jones and Rachel Cleary) -v- SSCLG

R(Patrick Mahoney, Frances Jones and Rachel Cleary) -v- Secretary of State For Communities and Local Government [2015] EWHC 589 (Admin) 9 MARCH 2015

In this case, the Claimant Irish Travellers, who have to move from their site to an alternative site due to the Crossrail Project, challenged their inability, under the Land Compensation 1973, to claim home loss payments (unlike the situation for house dwellers).  Unfortunately they were unsuccessful in this challenge.

Best -v- The Chief Land Registrar

R(Best) -v- The Chief Land Registrar and the Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWCA Civ 17

This adverse possession case did not involve a Gypsy or a Traveller but very occasionally you do come across Gypsies and Travellers who have been on land for many years where it is not clear who the owner of the land is.

The brief facts were that Mr Best had noticed an empty and vandalised property while working on a property next door in 1997. He had been told that the owner had died and that a son had not been seen for years. Mr Best entered the property and did work to it. He replaced ceilings and skirting boards, and electric and heating fitments; he plastered and painted walls. He did this intending to make it his permanent residence. He moved in at the end of January 2012.