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Mid Bedfordshire District Council v Brown (no 2) [2006] EWHC 1362 QB

DATE: 12 May 2006


An injunction granted against persons unknown prevented the stationing of caravans on land. A Mr Slender and his family moved onto the land and were informed about the injunction.  They left the land but later returned.  The local planning authority sought to commit them for contempt.  Mr Slender applied for planning permission and sought to vary the injunction: there was no previous appeal decision in relation to the site and C1/2006 had just been published.  The local planning authority said that it was likely to refuse planning permission. 

Mrs Justice Gloster applied the principles in Mid Beds DC v Brown [2005] 1 WLR 1460 and South Cambridgeshire DC v Gammell [2006] JPL 873 in refusing to vary the injunction.  She considered the suggestion that, where gypsies were already in breach of an injunction, they needed to show a ‘substantial likelihood’ that planning permission would be granted before they could hope to have the injunction varied, rather than merely a ‘real prospect’ (see South Beds DC v Price [2005] EWHC 2031) but did not decide the point.  She held that the actual prospects were not so great as to outweigh the need for the court to ensure that its orders were obeyed.  She sentenced Mr Slender to two months’ imprisonment, suspended on condition that he left the site by 1 September 2006.

Richard Langham appeared for South Bedfordshire District Council.