The claimant, who was a Romany gypsy, moved onto land in about March 2006. On 21 April, the claimant applied for planning permission to station a mobile home on the land for an agricultural worker. The application was refused by the second defendant local planning authority, and the claimant’s appeal under s 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 was dismissed by a decision of the planning inspectorate, dated 9 May 2007. On 25 August, the claimant applied for planning permission for a change of use of the south eastern corner of the land to allow the residential stationing of one mobile home for himself and his family. The authority refused the application on 11 October. The claimant again appealed under s 78 of the 1990 Act. After visiting the site, the planning inspector upheld the authority’s refusal. The claimant applied to quash the inspector’s decision. The Claimant contended (a) the inspector should have considered whether there was a realistic expectation that new gypsy sites would be likely to become available within some foreseeable period of time and, if so, to consider whether temporary planning permission should be granted for that period; and (b) the inspector had failed to give a proper, intelligent and adequate explanation for his conclusion that temporary planning permission should be refused.
Held: Application dismissed. The local planning authority was only obliged to give consideration to granting a temporary permission for a particular period if affirmative answers were given to three questions; namely: (i) whether there was an unmet need for sites for gypsies and travellers in the area concerned; (ii) whether there were no available sites for gypsies and travellers in the area concerned; and (iii) whether there was a reasonable expectation that new sites were likely to become available at the end of the particular period. The reasoning of the inspector showed clearly that it was not possible to anticipate when other sites would become available. In other words, question (iii) could not be answered in the affirmative and so the obligation to consider granting a temporary permission to the claimant had not been triggered. The inspector would have been unable to fix any period when there would be a reasonable expectation that new sites would become available.