Inspector overrules council to allow two gipsy and traveller pitches in Shropshire countryside

A planning inspector has overruled Shropshire Council to grant planning permission for two gipsy and traveller pitches in the countryside.

Five Oak Stables, Coton, Whitchurch. Picture Green Planning Studio
Five Oak Stables, Coton, Whitchurch. Picture Green Planning Studio

Planning inspector Jonathan Edwards heard that the applicant for the pitches at Five Oak Stables, Coton, Whitchurch, proved the pitch occupiers' status as gipsies and travellers and that provided him with the evidence to approve the plan at appeal.

Mr Edwards said that the "appellant’s agent confirmed at the hearing that the residential accommodation is for gipsies and travellers, even though this is not specifically mentioned in the description of development.

"The evidence demonstrates the current occupants comply with the definition of gipsies and travellers."

Mr Edwards also ruled that because the development is but a short car drive away from a range of day to day services it could not be deemed to be too remote.

"Bearing in mind the rural location and the difficulty in finding gipsy and traveller sites in villages and towns, the site provides reasonable access to services and facilities," he wrote.

Planning officers at the council had refused the application because not enough evidence of gipsy and traveller status had been provided.

They had said that " the nature of the accommodation needs together with any personal circumstances have not been made clear or sufficiently detailed and evidenced in the submitted application to support the stated need for two residential pitches to 'facilitate a gipsy lifestyle'.

"It is not considered by the council that there is a general unmet need for gipsy and traveller sites in the area and no evidence has been submitted to demonstrate otherwise or that there is not alternative provision available."

Each pitch incorporates a mobile home, a touring caravan and a utility/day room.

Wem Rural Parish Council objected to the application in November 2021.

"The Parish Council resolved to object to the application for the following reasons:

"Not only is the site in an area designated as 'countryside', it is also in an unsustainable location. It is not close to a market town or large settlement where all required facilities and services are found in one location.

"No evidence has been submitted that there is no alternative provision for gipsy and traveller pitches within Shropshire."

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