fight to stave off eviction from a green belt site in Dartford.
Mr Justice Harrison has ruled that the ODPM , which rejected the family's application
Dartford, had failed to consider granting permission for the family to stay
The judge said that the ODPM must now reconsider the matter, dealing with
the issue of whether a temporary planning permission could be granted to last long
enough either for the children to complete their education, or for the family to
find an alternative site.
The family, described on court documents as Romanies and headed by three
brothers all born in nearby St Paul's Cray, had their application for
planning permission refused first by Dartford BC and then by one of the ODPM's planning inspectors.
Both found that the site was subject to particular protection as green belt
land, and that the families' personal circumstances are not special enough
to justify the development, but the family claimed the land was not worth
As part of the family's High Court challenge spearheaded by landowner
William Lee, they claimed that the site is surrounded by other structures,
has been previously built on, and is connected to utilities.
Lee, who bought the land in July 2002, claimed that the family's six
caravans are effectively hidden from view in a copse, and that he plans to
plant more trees to screen them even further.
He shares the site with his wife Beverley and his brothers Joseph and John,
also claimed that in refusing their application for permission, the
authorities have failed to adequately consider the educational needs of the
twelve children in the extended family, six of whom are currently at school
in the area, and the rest of which are expected to start if permission is
Mr Justi ce Harrison today allowed the family's challenge on one of their
grounds, that the inspector had failed to consider granting a temporary
permission to allow them time to find an alternative site.
Quashing the decision, and ordering the ODPM to reconsider the matter,
the judge said: 'In my view, the question of temporary planning permission
simply has not been addressed in the secretary of state's decision.
'In these circumstances I have decided that this application succeeds, and
it follows that the secretary of state's decision must be quashed in order
for him to deal with the issue of temporary planning permission.'
STRAND NEWS SERVICE