This was a hard-fought inquiry involving two local planning authorities given that the single pitch gypsy site straddled the administrative boundary of both Stratford on Avon and West Oxfordshire. Peter Goatley represented the Councils. Jack Smyth and Bridget Forster represented the rule 6 residents’ group.

The appeal was dismissed outright. The Inspector refused a temporary permission. 

The Inspector grappled, in some detail, with the issue of the proper approach to be taken when assessing the sustainability credentials of gypsy sites. The Inspector concluded that the site was unsustainable and afforded substantial weight to this harm. Of particular interest to practitioners in the field, he concluded that when assessing sustainability one should properly have regard to both the Framework and PPTS. He concluded that the appeal site was unsustainable because it lay in open countryside and was located away from existing settlements. Accordingly, the proposal was found to offend paragraph 23 of the PPTS which calls for development to be ‘strictly controlled’ in such circumstances. The Inspector gave short shrift to the appellant’s argument that strictly controlled does not mean that such development is unacceptable (ie ‘control’ is a different word to ‘prevent’ or ‘limit’).

There was disagreement as to whether the appellant satisfied the definition of gypsy. The residents’ group unearthed evidence which tended to contradict the appellant’s case that he had a longstanding travelling lifestyle. The Inspector concluded that the appellant did not meet the definition of the gypsy.

Please click here to view profiles of Peter Goatley, Jack Smyth and Bridget Forster