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High Court backs north Hampshire traveller injunction

Judge refuses to change ruling restricting the use of land

Charlotte Booth

Reporter:

Charlotte Booth

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01635 886637

West Berkshire Council launches legal challenge over housing appeal

A HIGH Court judgement has refused to change the injunction conditions associated with a piece of land adjacent to Culham’s Mill in Silchester, which is owned by travellers. 

The injunction proceedings initially arose in February 2017 after an extensive area of hard standing was created on the site and caravans positioned on it.

The planning application was submitted the same day as the work began. 

This injunction prevented any tree felling or taking building materials on to the site.

In essence, it “was to allow only the caravans present on the land at the time of the original injunction to remain there”. 

The travellers claim they were living on the land at the time the injunction was issued, but Basingstoke and Deane Council claimed at the High Court hearing in December that this was not the case. 

Judge Bidder QC, who resided over the High Court of Justice, said: “To vary this injunction would be wholly to undermine the court’s authority and the planning system and would give a green light to ‘strong arm’ tactics designed to bypass or unfairly influence planning decisions.”

Head of planning and infrastructure at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Matthew Evans said: “The injunction remains in place and will do so pending the outcome of the current planning application, or any appeal, or enforcement notice, unless a court decides otherwise.

“An application has been made by the landowners to vary the terms of the injunction to allow some occupation of the site, which the council is defending.”

The application was criticised by villagers and a resident group – known as the Calleva Society – raised in excess of £12,000 to fight it. 

The site was originally purchased by two travellers – Jade Nolan and Freddy Loverage – in November 2016 for £240,000.

The landowners say they want to create a site for gypsies and travellers with proper facilities for all, including safe facilities for children, introducing stability into their lives and encouraging their education and good healthcare.

The planning application is still with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and there is no set date for when a decision will be made. 

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