Home > Cases > R (Baker and others) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and another [2007] EWHC 2370 (Admin)

The applicant gypsies (B) applied to quash a decision of an inspector for the respondent secretary of state refusing to grant planning permission for land on a green belt site for residential use. Temporary planning permission had been granted for land on a green belt site for residential use as a gypsy site. When the temporary permission expired B remained on the site and enforcement notices were served. B appealed against the refusal of the local authority to grant planning permission for the retention of their touring caravans or mobile homes on the site. The inspector held that the residential use was an inappropriate development in the green belt. She took into account other considerations in favour of B including their gypsy status, the need for additional gypsy sites, the shortage of alternative accommodation options and their personal circumstances. The inspector found that the other considerations did not outweigh the harm to the green belt and the openness of the land. B contended, amongst other things, that the inspector (1) failed to take into account the fact that if the appeals were dismissed it would still cause harm to green belt land as provision was likely to have to be made on other green belt sites; (2) had erred by not taking into account the Housing Act 2004 s.225 which imposed a statutory duty on the local authority to meet the assessed needs of gypsies; (3) failed to consider whether the imposition of conditions or the grant of temporary planning permission would reduce harm to justify the grant of a temporary or permanent permission.

HELD: (1) The inspector clearly took into account the harm that would be caused to the green belt by the further provision of sites caused by the need to accommodate B if planning permission was refused. (2) The inspector could not be expected to consider statutory provisions that were not in force at the time of her decision. Further how the local authority performed any duty imposed by law was a matter for it. (3) The inspector expressly considered temporary planning permission and obviously had in mind the different impact on openness of a temporary or permanent planning permission. She was not obliged to consider the imposition of conditions when not expressly raised. (4) The decision of the inspector was logical and open to her and was supported by evidence. It was impossible to say that her conclusion was perverse or irrational.

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