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Gypsy and Traveller site can stay in South Cambridgeshire village, planning inspector rules

A Gypsy and Traveller family has won an appeal to keep their home, after a planning inspector ruled it no longer causes “substantial harm” to the area.

The inspector recognised this might cause “frustration” for others living in the area, as only temporary permission had been given before, but said the situation had changed.

The site in Cambridge Road, Wimpole, where a Gypsy and Traveller site can remain. Picture: Google Maps
The site in Cambridge Road, Wimpole, where a Gypsy and Traveller site can remain. Picture: Google Maps

Ricky Crotty had applied for permission to keep a caravan, two touring caravans and a separate amenity building on land off Cambridge Road, in Wimpole.

Temporary permission had been granted by an inspector in 2015 to allow the family to stay at the site until February 2017.

At the time, the inspector said the establishment of a Gypsy and Traveller site would cause “substantial harm” to the character and appearance of the area and granted the temporary permission to give time for alternative pitches to become available.

In September last year, South Cambridgeshire District Council refused the latest application to keep the caravans on the site, claiming the “continued unauthorised” use of the land by the family was causing “substantial harm to the character and appearance of the area”.

However, a different planning inspector overturned this decision, claiming the caravans had a “very limited” visual impact.

Acknowledging this view differed from the previous ruling, the inspector said the situation had changed, with bushes on the boundary of the site growing higher.

The inspector also said the district council could not demonstrate an adequate supply of Gypsy and Traveller sites to meet the “substantial” level of unmet need in the area.

The inspector said the family had ongoing health and educational needs that are met locally and said they had shown a “clear need for their residential occupation of the site”.

“I recognise that this decision will cause frustration to the local community as the previous inspector found that the substantial harm caused only justified a limited period permission of two years, yet the residential use still remains,” said the inspector.

“Nevertheless, it is clear to me that the circumstances on the site have changed materially in the intervening period, albeit unauthorised, coupled with the different policy basis and lack of any reasonable alternative sites being available now.”

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