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Two gypsies have failed in a high court challenge to a government decision blocking their plans for two caravans an...
Two gypsies have failed in a high court challenge to a government decision blocking their plans for two caravans and two mobile homes on a thin strip of green belt land in Billericay.

Barry and Sean Clark had asked Mr justice Forbes to quash the 4 October decision of the secretary of state responsible for planning to reject their planning application to site the caravans and mobile homes on land between two residential developments.

The matter came to the secretary of state after Basildon DC refused permission, but his inspector found that there were not 'very special circumstances' in the case that would justify the inappropriate development in the green belt.

He accepted that the shortage of authorised gypsy sites, both nationally and locally, provided some support for the Clarks' case, but concluded that the needs of gypsies in the area would be better addressed through the council's local plan review process, which was underway.

Challenging the secretary of state's decision in the high court, the Clarks claimed that the inspector had failed adequately to take into account the need for authorised sites as a separate consideration, as he had side-stepped the issue by referring to the local plan process.

They also claimed that temporary planning permission should have been granted pending the local plan review. This would have overcome the policy and environmental objections to the development, and would have been a lesser interference with the claimants' rights under the Human Rights Act.

But now Mr justice Forbes has rejected the challenge, finding that, on a fair reading of the decision, it was clear that the inspector had not failed to take into account the local and national need for approved gypsy sites.

The judge said the inspector was saying that he would not attach as much weight to the issue of need than he otherwise might, because it would be better addressed in the local plan process. That, he said, was a matter of planning judgment for the inspector.


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