Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

Gypsy and Traveller Cases

O’Connor -v- SSCLG & Epping Forest District Council

O’Connor – v – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Epping Forest District Council [2014] EWHC 3821 (Admin), 20 November 2014

This case involved an attempt by Irish Traveller families to obtain planning permission for a site in the Green Belt.  The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (SSCLG) decided to “recover” the appeal that went to the Planning Inspector against the local authority’s refusal of planning permission. 

The Planning Inspector recommended to SSCLG that temporary permission should be granted.  SSCLG refused permission laying great emphasis on the question of flood risk.  In the High Court, Wyn Williams J quashed the SSCLG’s decision stating:-

In my Judgment the conclusion reached by the [SSCLG] about the flood risk on the appeal site was unreasonable and/or it failed to take account of material considerations namely the factual conclusions made by the Inspector and his Judgment based upon those factual conclusions (para 46).

See: O’Connor -v- SSCLG & Epping Forest District Council Judgment

Planning Permission in the Green Belt – the very special circumstances test

Redhill Aerodrome Limited -v- Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Tandridge District Council [2014] EWHC 2476 (Admin)

By: Marc Willers QC, Garden Court Chambers

The planning policy governing the provision of Gypsy and Traveller sites is to be found in Planning policy for traveller sites (2012) and the policy governing all forms of development in the Green Belt is to be found in Part 9 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2012). Like other types of housing, Gypsy and Traveller caravan sites are considered to be inappropriate development in the Green Belt and they will only be granted planning permission if ‘very special circumstances’ exist.

McDonald -v- McDonald

McDonald -v- McDonald [2014} EWCA Civ 1049 24 July 2014

Ms McDonald was an assured shorthold tenant of a private landlord. Eviction action was taken against her on the basis of the automatic ground for possession contained in Housing Act 1988 section 21. One of her grounds of defence was reliance on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights ( the right to respect for private and family life and home). The question, in terms of this ground, for the Court of Appeal, was whether she could rely on this ground of defence in an action involving a private landlord.

R (O’Brien & Anr) -v- Bristol City Council

R (O’Brien & Anr) -v- Bristol City Council (Secretary of State for Transport intervening) [2014] EWHC 2423 (Admin)

By Joe Markus of Garden Court North Chambers (who represented the O’Briens)

This case concerned the eviction of the O’Brien family from an unauthorised encampment off West Town Road under the Avonmouth Bridge, which carries the M5 motorway. The claim was issued in the High Court as a judicial review of the Council’s decision to seek possession due to the absence of legal aid for trespassers to defend possession proceedings brought against them.

Connors & Others -v- SSCLG & Others

Connors, Connors, Doran, Sines and Lee v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and others [2014] EWHC 2358 (Admin) 11 July 2014

This case involved 5 High Court planning appeals and applications under either Section 288 or Section 289 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 that were all heard together. All of these cases had been recovered by the SSCLG under his powers to do so and in line with the Written Ministerial Statements of 1st July 2013 and 17th January 2014.

Ball -v- SSCLG & Brentwood Borough Council

Ball – v – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Brentwood Borough Council [2014] EWCA Civ 372, 11 March 2014.

 The Appellant was seeking planning permission for change of use of land to provide 6 residential Gypsy/Traveller pitches. This was refused by the local authority and he appealed to the Planning Inspector. Mr Pickles, the Constituency MP, put in a strong objection to the appeal.