Gypsy site rejected personally by Eric Pickles gets go-ahead

Eric Pickles overruled inspectors and rejected the application when he was Secretary of State
Eric Pickles overruled inspectors and rejected the application when he was Secretary of State

A long-running row over a gypsy site that has gone to the High Court and back has been settled by an inspector.

Permission has been granted for a gypsy family to live on land in Nyewood and graze horses.

The site has attracted a lot of controversy over the last few years

The site has attracted a lot of controversy over the last few years

The application for the change of use of the Three Cornered Piece site was initially rejected in 2013 after a flood of objections but that decision has now been overturned on appeal.

Planning inspector John Papworth said in his report: “The proposal would cause harm to the character and appearance of this part of the South Downs National Park.”

When his 2013 application was refused James Searle appealed and was granted permission by an inspector.

However then Secretary of State Eric Pickles overruled the inspector and rejected the appeal.

Mr Papworth said the change would have a ‘harmful effect on the character and appearance of the area’ but that other considerations led him to grant permission.

Mr Searle two school-age children and the inspector said this was a hefty factor in his decision.

He said: “A six-year-old son spends time with Mr Searle, often travelling some distance to school according to where his father is staying.

“This appears to be incompatible with regular, timely school attendance, or ready access to healthcare.

“The educational needs of the children should carry significant weight as their best interest would be served by regular attendance at school, as well as a stable home life with the family together.

“The appellant clearly stated the wish for a better education for his children than he had.”

In his conclusion he said: “Having regard to the best interests of the children, the harm caused would not be outweighed or justified sufficiently to be able to allow permanent occupation.”

With that in mind the inspector granted temporary permission for a period of three years, after which a fresh application would have to be submitted.