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Unauthorised Developments on land owned by Gypsies, Roma's and Travellers

Gypsies, Roma's and Travellers are subject to the same restrictions as the settled community when it comes to developing a site for occupation.

Gypsies, Roma's and Travellers have the same rights to purchase and own any land. As with any other person in the UK they are subject to the same restrictions as the settled community when it comes to developing a site for occupation as a permanent site that requires planning permission. The provisions of the Law and the Human Rights Act apply to all residents in the UK.

Sometimes the Council can only take enforcement action if it can persuade a Judge in the appropriate Court to give it permission. If the Court gives permission, enforcement of any Court decisions is also reliant on the local Police having the necessary resources to act.

The options open to the Council's Planning Enforcement for breach of planning regulations in these and any other cases of unauthorised development are:

  1. Interim and permanent injunctions
  2. Temporary stop notices
  3. Enforcement notices
  4. Stop notices

All of these measures rely on Officers gathering evidence of the occupation and or development of a site, liaising with the Legal Section, and often obtaining specialist legal advice. An interim injunction may be obtained to prevent works being undertaken and to prevent residential occupation commencing but there is no certainty that a permanent Injunction requiring the residential use to cease can be obtained.

The hearing of the application for a permanent injunction may have to wait until the planning position has been finally determined. If there is sufficient evidence of a breach then an injunction / stop / enforcement notice can be served as appropriate.

Planning Enforcement has no powers to physically stop the occupation or continued development of a site if the persons involved choose to ignore the notices that are served, other than to prosecute the offenders through the Court system. There is no power of arrest for the breach of an injunction or other planning enforcement notice.

Once work has started at a site the planning system cannot stop it with any speed. The occupiers or owners of a site have the ability to take their case through both the Planning system and the Courts, and this can take several years. Whilst the Council has a good record of success in dealing with these matters, the planning system does not presently provide a quick remedy.

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