22 January 2009
Link to judgment
Summary of case
The case concerned planning claims by over 40 mainly Irish Traveller or Gypsy families who were resident on unauthorised sites in the Council’s district. The land which they occupy is in the Green Belt and planning permission has been refused. Enforcement notices have been served and upheld on appeal. The Council sought to remove their caravans from the land which they occupied and to enforce compliance with the notices by removing the hard standing which has been placed on the land so that it is restored to its natural state.
The Court refused the judicial review application saying ‘there was evidence before the judge that the attention of members of the Committee was drawn to the need to consider the three prongs of the general Race Equality Duty. An initial Race Impact Assessment had been carried out. The duties were to be considered in a context in which the claimants had carried out unauthorised development in the Green Belt and were liable to criminal sanctions for non-compliance with enforcement notices. The context included the tension between the claimants and those in the settled community, by reason of the unlawful use. The council would have regard to its duties when considering when and how to evict the claimants. As to the Disability Duty, the council comment that it must not be assumed that all, or even many, of the claimants are disabled persons. The council had had regard to the health problems of some claimants and had considered the personal circumstances of the occupants in detail.’