Gypsy family wins fight to stay on Green Belt lands despite petition against them


A gypsy family has won their battle to stay at a green belt site despite a petition calling on them to leave.

John Price’s request to convert the land at Station Road, Newchapel, into a residential caravan site was initially rejected by the Newcastle Borough Council.

Council was wary of the impact this could have on the ground, but Mr Price appealed the council’s decision, and Planning Inspector Andrew McGlone has now overturned the decision.

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The family moved to the site earlier this year, and Mr Price and his son had previously spent time away from his wife and daughters due to a lack of alternate space that would allow them to live together, a Mr. McGlone said at the appeal hearing. .

Mr Price spoke of his efforts to find an alternative site over the past few years during the call. He said he had tried sites in Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Newark and Manchester and that a Stafford Borough Council liaison officer had also tried to find a site for the family.

Mr. McGlone said in his notice of decision: “Overall, there is a lack of alternative housing available. Thus, the only alternative open to the appellant and his family would be to live by the side of the road if I were to dismiss the appeal as the board would initiate enforcement proceedings. This factor adds significant weight in favor of the proposal.

“The appellant and his wife have four children. They all now live on the site after a period of interval. The best interests of the children are a primary consideration in the appeal, but not necessarily determinative.

“Three of the children go to primary school. They like to go to school, where their attendance is said to be good, and they have each made new friends there. The intention is that each of them go to high school locally.

“The other child was in school before the pandemic started, but has not been there since. They receive private lessons in English and math over a weekend while waiting to learn that a place becomes available in a high school.

“The best interests of the children would be served by having a sedentary base from which to access education, as this would help encourage and maintain school attendance while maintaining their established social network. “



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More than 180 people have sent objections to Newcastle City Council in response to the request, as has Kidsgrove City Council. There was also a petition signed by 400 people.

Opponents said there were already too many houses in the area and a child’s needs did not outweigh the reasons against granting a building permit. There were also concerns that if the request was granted, it would set a precedent for more encampments in the green belt.

Mr. McGlone said: “Residents are concerned about the coexistence of occupants within the sedentary community. But, subject to the imposition of planning conditions to control use and ensure satisfactory details such as hard and soft landscaping, I consider that there is no reason to believe that the occupants would coexist not.

“There is an existing brick building at the rear of the site and part of the land was covered with hard soil before the appellant moved onto the land. That said, the proposal did and would cause visual damage to the opening of the green belt due to the proposed boundary treatments, use of the land for trailers, and additional rooting compared to the aerial photographs submitted.

“The appeals system would be an efficient use of previously developed messy and abandoned land. It also would not encroach on the countryside as it is / would be contained by the road, neighboring plots of land on either side and by a rear boundary consistent with the development tape on the east side of the road.

The Newcastle Borough Council planning committee is due to consider the appeal decision at its meeting on Tuesday, December 7.

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A report to the committee said: “The inspector considered that, for a number of reasons, a temporary authorization until the end of 2025 would be an approach proportionate to the legitimate objective of protecting the environment and the green belt. .

“It would also strike an appropriate balance between the rights of individuals and the protection of matters of recognized public interest. “


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