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Public law and Regulation

Case reports and guidance on public law and professional regulation issues

04 JUL 2013

Delaney v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2013] EWCA Civ 585; (2013) PLLR 086

Local government - planning - temporary planning permission - private gypsy caravan site - decision of planning inspector - breach of statutory duty to assess and meet need for gypsy sites - weight to be given to breach

The approach taken by a planning inspector in deciding not to grant temporary planning permission for use of green belt land as a private gypsy caravan site had been permissible. The inspector had taken into account the local authority's breach of its statutory duty to assess and meet the need for gypsy sites, but had been entitled to conclude that the protection of green belt land, amongst other things, outweighed this consideration.

23 May 2013

Court of Appeal

Goldring, Aikens and McCombe LLJ

(1)        The claimant (D) was a gypsy traveller who sought retrospective planning permission for a private gypsy caravan site on green belt land. The second defendant local authority (B) had refused permission. The planning inspector upheld the decision on the basis that occupation of the site would harm the green belt land.

(2)        D challenged the decision of the inspector on the basis that B was in breach of its statutory duty to assess and meet the needs of gypsies and travellers in its area and that this was a material factor in his favour when considering whether or not to grant permission; and that once it was accepted that B was in breach and that there was an unmet need for gypsy and traveller sites, the inspector had placed insufficient weight on this aspect.

(3)        Goldring LJ (with whom Aikens and McCombe LLJ agreed) held (1) that the inspector had taken account of the duty on B to assess and meet the need for gypsy and traveller sites, as well as B's failure to produce a development plan. The inspector had considered it unlikely that such a plan would be produced within the next 5 years and that unmet need was unlikely to be met by planned provision, meaning that planning permission would be looked to for a solution. The inspector's assessment that although unmet need was a factor in favour of granting planning permission, this was outweighed by other factors including the damage that would be caused to green belt that was a permissible one. The inspector had given significant weight to the breach of statutory duty and was entitled to come to that conclusion.

Appeal dismissed

Key paragraphs

[1] - Introduction

[2] - The ground of appeal

[3] - [19] - The legal framework

[20] - The judgment

[21] - The appellant's approach to temporary permission at the healing

[22] - [25] - Submissions for the appellant

[26] - [31] - Conclusion.

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