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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 16:46 GMT
Tipi planning fight finally over
Tipi Valley
Mr Oubridge said he first moved to Tipi Valley in 1979
A 13-year planning dispute over one man's fight to live in a tipi in west Wales has finally come to an end.

Brig Oubridge has been told his three tents and gypsy-style caravan on land near Llandeilo, know as Tipi Valley, is a lawful development.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan has written to the campaigner confirming the legal permission.

Carmarthenshire Council said it was considering the implications of the assembly government's ruling.

Mr Oubridge said while he was delighted to have finally won, he questioned the cost and effort of opposing his case.

The planning dispute involved three former Welsh Secretaries - William Hague, Ron Davies and Alun Michael.

Brig Oubridge
My life has been in a sort of suspended animation
Brig Oubridge

The campaigner first moved to Tipi Valley in 1979 and settled at his present location in 1981.

In 1993 he applied to the former Dinefwr Council for a retrospective lawful use certificate which was refused.

Two years later a public inquiry found in Mr Oubridge's favour as he had occupied the land for more than 10 years but various secretaries of state tried to have the decision overturned.

In 1999 the High Court referred the case back to the Welsh assembly.

Another local inquiry was opened in October 2004 and First Minister Rhodri Morgan has finally written to Mr Oubridge to issue him with a certificate, although a lean-to porch was refused permission.

The council is currently considering the decision and its implications for future action in this area
Carmarthenshire Council spokeswoman

"It's been a very long and frustrating process. I thought it might have taken six months but never did I think it would last for 13 years," he said.

"My life has been in a sort of suspended animation, with the constant worry of never knowing when I might have to return to the High Court."

He said he had not been offered any apology over the length of time the case had taken or any sort of compensation or costs.

Around 100 people live at Tipi Valley which before Mr Oubridge's win had planning permission for only a single caravan.

He said he doubted that others at the camp would follow his lead and apply for retrospective permission to put the community on a lawful footing.

"I can't see anyone in the community being encouraged to do so after what has happened with my case," he added.

Carmarthenshire Council, which is the successor authority to Dinefwr, said it was looking at the assembly government's ruling.

"The council is currently considering the decision and its implications for future action in this area," said a spokeswoman.

"This matter has been ongoing for over 10 years and demonstrates the complexity of regulating temporary dwellings."

Tipi row reopens, 11 years on
05 Oct 04 |  South West Wales

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