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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 15:52 GMT
No change to caravan enforcement
The travellers' site near Eckington, Worcestershire
Ms Wilson moved onto the site near Eckington
The use of stop notices to ban Gypsies and travellers from moving onto unauthorised campsites has been upheld.

A High Court judge said protecting the environment by using notices for planning control was legitimate even if Gypsies lost their place to live.

The ruling came after a case brought by a Romany Gypsy who was issued with a notice after moving her caravan on to land in Worcestershire in May 2004.

She criticised a law withdrawing an exemption from notices from caravans.

Wychavon District Council issued enforcement and stop notices a month after Claire Wilson and other Romany Gypsies moved their caravans onto the site to prevent them continuing to live on the site.

'Disproportionate effect'

Ms Wilson attacked the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act for withdrawing from caravans the same exemption from stop notices which protects "the use of any building as a dwelling house".

She asked Mr Justice Crane, sitting in London, to declare the section which omits caravans from the exemption incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights which outlaws discrimination on racial grounds.

Charles George QC, for Ms Wilson, argued the law was having "a disproportionate effect" on Romany Gypsies and Irish travellers because of their reliance on caravans as their homes.

Rejecting the challenge, the judge said the claim involved "the very difficult question of how potential family and cultural rights of Gypsy and Romany populations interact with and are affected by the municipal planning laws of this country."

But the European Court of Human Rights had held that the protection of the environment through planning control was "a legitimate and important objective" even in cases "where Gypsies are deprived of their place of residence".

He said there was proper justification for stop notices continuing to apply to caravans as they had "a marked difference in immediate environmental impact" to buildings converted to residential use.

There was a need for "effective planning control - and public confidence in it", said the judge.


SEE ALSO:
Travellers' site to be revamped
24 Apr 05 |  Hereford/Worcs
Travellers lose fight over site
04 Jan 05 |  Hereford/Worcs
Travellers ignore eviction notice
05 Jun 04 |  Hereford/Worcs
Travellers facing site eviction
02 Jun 04 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Fresh hope in eviction saga
23 Apr 04 |  Coventry/Warwickshire


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