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TRAVELLERS LOSE TEST CASE TO LIVE AS GYPSIES

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New age travellers have lost their legal battle to prove they have the same rights as gypsies to be found sites by ...
New age travellers have lost their legal battle to prove they have the same rights as gypsies to be found sites by councils. A high court judge last week dismissed a test case challenge by three groups who are facing eviction by county councils from land in Devon, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire.

The travellers were given leave to appeal but were refused a stay of the ruling by Mr Justice Harrison that the council's eviction decisions were valid. It means possession proceedings against the travellers can now go ahead. The challenge was seen as a test case on whether travellers have the right to somewhere to live under the terms of the Caravans Sites Act 1968.

Under the Act, councils are obliged to provide sites for gypsies who are defined as 'persons of a nomadic habit of life, whatever their race or origin'. The travellers had contended that the definition covered anyone who led a travelling or wandering life. But the judge said that interpretation was too 'simplistic'.

He said the councils had all reached valid conclusions that the travellers were not gypsies. Their breach of duty was, therefore, 'of no relevance'.
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