BARNSLEY Council’s decision to refuse permission for a permanent gypsy pitch which would be home to ten people has been backed by government planning bosses.

Applicant Andrew Smith, of Clayton Lane, Thurnscoe, was turned down by the local authority in September last year after his bid to permanently house caravans on the green belt site was deemed inappropriate.

He then lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate, a government department which has the power to overrule a local authority’s decision.

However, the inspector sided with the council, concluding that Mr Smith’s quest for permanency on the land was not in keeping with the area.

A report said: “The appellant’s supporting statement indicates that the site would be occupied by him, his wife, his two children and his six grandchildren.

“It is recognised that other built development exists in the immediate area, but the evidence is that prior to the unauthorised development taking place on the appeal site, it was predominantly green and devoid of structures and caravans.

“Considering the caravans, structures, likely parked vehicles and domestic paraphernalia, we find that harm would be caused to the green belt in spatial terms.

“We do not find that the grant of permanent planning permission is justified.

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“We have considered whether a temporary planning permission would be appropriate, but it remains possible that an alternative site could be available for the family within the near future, whether on an allocated site or taking proactive action to secure occupation on a policy compliant windfall site.

“In respect of the latter, there is no evidence before me to indicate that such an option would not be possible within a period of months rather than years.

“Furthermore, and, in any event, the harm that would be caused to the green belt, and the other identified planning harms, while for a limited period, would nonetheless still be significant and hence a temporary planning permission would not be justified on this basis.

“We acknowledge that in dismissing the appeal it would mean that the family continued to occupy the site on an unauthorised basis.

“To this extent, the decision could, in turn, have enforcement implications and the family may lose their home.

“We conclude that the development would not accord with the development plan for the area taken as a whole and there are no material considerations that indicate the decision should be made other than in accordance with the development plan.

“Therefore, the appeal should be dismissed.”