AN unlawful traveller encampment which set up on green belt land without consent has resulted in enforcement action being taken by planning bosses.
The site, to the rear of Pleasant Street View in Barnsley, was occupied by Allan Hanrahan and having been issued with a prohibition notice by Barnsley Council, an appeal was subsequently lodged with the Planning Inspectorate.
Mr Hanrahan - whose family were granted planning permission to stay on an adjacent site - stated that a caravan pitch was set up on the neighbouring land due to growing family needs.
In his evidence, he said no other sites were available in Barnsley - a belief disputed by the council, with allocated pitches off Industry Lane and Burntwood Cottages ‘available’.
Inspector Chris Preston said: “The appeal site is located to the rear of the existing caravan site occupied by the appellant and his family which is itself behind the terrace of properties at Pleasant View Street on Smithies Lane.
“The lane marks the boundary of the green belt and the land is more urbanised beyond, with residential development to the north of Barnsley town centre.
“Although visibility from public vantage points is limited, the physical presence of the caravan, associated domestic paraphernalia and the boundary wall has resulted in a reduction in the openness of the green belt in a physical sense due to the volume and presence of those structures on space that was previously open and free from development.
“In addition, the use has resulted in the encroachment of residential development into the countryside, through the additional hard surfacing and the presence of the caravan and associated cars and domestic items.
“The caravan is occupied by one the appellant’s sons, his wife and their young child.
“The appellant maintains that the caravan was brought onto the land in order to accommodate the growing needs of his family which can no longer be accommodated on the adjacent site.
“Clearly, therefore, there are strong family ties between the occupants of the appeal site and their family residing at the adjacent site.
“I recognise the desire to live within a family group which is no doubt culturally important to the occupants.”
The Planning Inspectorate - which has the power to overrule the council’s decision and even grant permission to stay - ruled against Mr Hanrahan.
However, a one-month period to vacate the land was ruled out due to the child’s presence in order to prevent a ‘rapid upheaval’ and instead a six-month term was proposed.
Mr Preston added: “A period of one month would require rapid upheaval and a much greater likelihood of unnecessary hardship, particularly given that the family has a young child.
“Consequently, I find that the compliance period in the notice does not strike a fair and proportionate balance and would not amount to a justified interference with the rights of the family.
“In my view a more proportionate response would be to allow a period of six months to cease the residential occupation and remove the caravan and a further month after that for the physical works.
“That would provide a fair and justified balance between the need to remedy the breach in the legitimate public interest and the interference with the convention rights of the family.”