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A 36-strong family of Irish travellers have been told by a judge at London's High Court that they must leave a site...
A 36-strong family of Irish travellers have been told by a judge at London's High Court that they must leave a site in Cottenham, Cambridgeshire.

The family, who occupy land they own known as Pine View, part of Smithy Fen, Cottenham, must now leave the site or face possible imprisonment for contempt of court.

Mr Justice Silber granted a High Court injunction sought by South Cambridgeshire DC, which requires the family to remove their caravans and stop living on the site. Failure to comply with the court order can constitute contempt of court, for which the punishments include jail.

The judge rejected the family's claim that no injunction should be granted because new government policy relating to travellers makes it more likely that they will win planning consent to remain on the site, which is not in the green belt.

And he rejected their plea that to grant an injunction would breach their right to respect for their family home under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The judge said that the council had earlier issued three enforcement notices requiring residential use of the land to cease, and that those enforcement notices had been backed by a government planning inspector and former planning supremo, John Prescott.

In ordering the travellers off the judge said: 'In my opinion, there are formidable obstacles to the grant of planning permission, temporary or otherwise.

'I come to the clear conclusion that this is an appropriate case in which to grant such relief. The planning considerations and the other factors set out in the report of the inspector and the decision of the secretary of state are powerful factors, when considered with the low prospects of the defendants obtaining temporary planning permission, lead me to the conclusion that I am obliged to grant the relief claimed.'

He ruled that the family's actions in moving onto the land without permission and failing to comply with the enforcement notices did constitute a 'flagrant breach of planning control'.

And referring to the 2006 government circular that the family claimed meant they were more likely to secure planning permission, he said: 'In my view, these new provisions mean that local planning authorities ought now to be less reluctant to grant temporary planning permission than they would have been previously.

'Nevertheless, these new provisions do not enable me to conclude in this case that there is a 'real prospect of success' because the defendants are putting forward essentially the same case in support of their claim for temporary planning permission as had been recently decisively rejected by the inspector for cogent and persuasive reasons in his report and subsequently by the first secretary of state.'

The judgment names the family members as: Dan Flynn, Patrick O'Brien Sr, Bridget O'Brien, Patrick O'Brien Jr, Lisa O'Brien, Michael O'Brien, Mary O'Brien, John Flynn, Margaret Culligan, Mary Culligan, John Culligan, Danny Flynn, Nora Flynn, Patrick Flynn, Julie Sheridan, James O'Brien, Patricia O'Brien, Daniel O'Brien, Nora O'Brien, Jeremiah O'Brien, Jeanie O'Brien, John Culligan, D Quilligan, Breada O'Donoghue, Jimmy O'Donoghue, Pat O'Donoghue, Mary O'Donoghue, James O'Brien, Tricia O'Brien, Daniel Flynn, Nora Sheridan, Mary Flynn, William Flynn, Daniel Quilligan, Patrick Quilligan and Miss Gemmall. The injunction also applies to 'persons unknown'.


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