Newent travellers inquiry verdict challenged by council

Building work at a travellers site in Newent The travellers bought the meadow in Newent in 2009

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A controversial decision to allow travellers to remain on land in Newent, Gloucestershire, is being challenged.

Forest of Dean District Council has issued the High Court challenge against the planning inspector's permission for 13 pitches on a Southend Lane meadow.

The travellers bought the land four years ago but, without permission, moved onto it and built hard standings and drainage.

They were later refused retrospective planning permission but appealed.

'Seriously erred'

Following a public inquiry in February, a 52-page report from the planning inspector said the group could stay.

Councillor Len Lawton, of the Newent Central ward, said he was "incredulous" to hear the news in May and now believes the issue can only be resolved through a High Court challenge.

He said: "Upon reviewing the inspector's decision and taking specialist legal advice, the council believes that the inspector has seriously erred in law by upholding the enforcement notice, whilst at the same time issuing a permission, and failed to undertake the appropriate evaluation in respect of protected species and impact on listed buildings.

"This has been a difficult case for all the residents of Newent, so it is therefore vital that we have confidence in the decisions made by the planning inspectorate."

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