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Travellers win right to remain at Hullavington
Travellers have won their planning appeal after years fighting Wiltshire Council for permission to stay on land in Hullavington.
The travellers bought Rose Field in April 2009 and moved six caravans onto the land, but were ordered to stop building work by planning officers.
Their subsequent planning application was turned down, followed by two unsuccessful appeals, but their appeal submitted earlier this year has been upheld.
The sole objection of the appeals has been on the basis of highway hazards resulting from the additional traffic generated. The previous inspector concluded that any increase in traffic would be unacceptable in terms of the increased risk to the safety of people using the highway.
In the latest appeal decision, inspector Paul Dignan said: “In view of the very small number of vehicles from the site that would be likely to undertake this manoeuvre, I consider that the impact would not be so severe as to justify the refusal of an otherwise acceptable proposal which would make a significant contribution to meeting the acknowledged need for gypsy and traveller sites in the area.
“For this reason I consider that the appeal should be allowed.
“It follows that it is not necessary to establish whether there are other material considerations to justify the proposal.”
Planning permission was granted for change of use of the field to a caravan site with day rooms for use by six gypsy and traveller families. The restrictions stated that the site shall not be occupied by any persons other than gypsies and travellers.
There shall also be no more than six pitches on the site and on each of the six pitches no more than two caravans shall be stationed at any time, of which only one caravan shall be a static caravan.
Planning consultant Tony Phillips from Thurdleigh Planning Consultancy Ltd has worked with the travellers to secure their future on the site.
He said: “My clients were absolutely delighted. Some have health issues, and stress has been added which could have been avoided. They have been there for over three years and the children have established locally. They’re causing no one any harm whatsoever.
“Gypsies and travellers have clear rights to pitches and planning permission; the council has a duty to get pitches for them. The prejudice of Wiltshire Council against them is unfair.”
An application made for a full award of costs against Wiltshire Council was submitted stating that the council acted unreasonably by disregarding the advice of its professional officers.
This was refused on the grounds that irrespective of the appeal’s outcome, costs may only be awarded against a party who has behaved unreasonably, and that local planning authorities are not bound to accept the recommendations of their officers.