Melton Council granted High Court injunction in battle to remove gypsy family from Waltham site

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Melton Council has been granted a High Court injunction in its ongoing battle to remove a traveller family from a site in Waltham.

The injunction requires the Truswell family to vacate the land, off Goadby Road, within 35 days, although the judge has made provision for the planning appeal process. This means the family still have time to appeal the council’s refusal of planning permission, made in January, to change the land into a gypsy caravan site for up to six caravans with grazing for horses.

The injunction will take effect if the family don’t lodge an appeal by March 15 or if their appeal is unsuccessful. If the appeal isn’t lodged by March 15 the family must leave the site by April 19.

If an appeal lodged by the family is unsuccessful or it’s withdrawn at any time, the injunction sets out that the family must leave 35 days after the appeal’s dismissal/withdrawal.

Melton Council has refused two planning applications submitted by the Truswells to turn the land into a gypsy caravan site.

The family most recently submitted plans to turn the pasture land into a site for up to six caravans but the council’s planning committee refused permission in January.

It considered the site was in an unsustainable location, that use of the access would increase hazards to vehicles, that the caravans would be readily visible, being only partially screened by hedgerows, and that the proposal was contrary to planning policies. The committee also resolved the site wasn’t suitable for grazing by horses.

Applicant Raab Truswell told the council the permission would have been for temporary use of the site – for as long as senior family members needed to live there.

The family had previously submitted plans to have up to eight caravans at the site but that application was refused by the committee, on similar grounds, in April 2014.

Mr Truswell told the council that he and his wife had travelled for many years in and around the area but were now suffering ill health, necessitating them to look at a more permanent location to base their caravans and live out their lives as they were unable to travel any more.

As previously reported in the Melton Times, the council had issued an enforcement notice requiring the site to be vacated and restored to its former condition but this wasn’t complied with.

It led to the council applying to the High Court, as the highest authority available to rule on planning matters.