Brandon Lewis – Government Makes ‘No Apologies’ For Racial Discrimination Against Travellers

Guardian

High court ruling  states human rights and equality laws breached by government department ‘calling in’ cases normally considered by planning inspectors.

The communities secretary, Eric Pickles, has “unlawfully discriminated” against Romany Gypsies wanting pitches in the green belt, the high court has ruled.

In a ruling likely to affect many other Travellers, a judge said both human rights and equality laws were breached by Pickles and his department “calling in” cases which would normally be considered by his planning inspectors.

The judge said Pickles was operating a legally flawed policy of “recovering” for his own consideration appeals by Travellers who claim there are exceptional circumstances  [ err very special] for allowing them green belt sites.

Mr Justice Gilbart, sitting in London, said an inspectors’ decision was normally received within eight weeks of the end of an inquiry – but it could take six months or more for a decision letter for a called-in case.

No attempt had been made by Pickles and his ministers to follow steps required by the 2010 Equality Act to avoid indirect discrimination, and “substantial delays” had occurred in dealing with the appeals in violation of article 6 of the European convention on human rights, said the judge.

His test-case ruling was a victory for two Romany Gypsies – Charmaine Moore, a single mother with three children who is under threat of eviction from a site at North Cudham in the London borough of Bromley, and Sarah Coates, a disabled woman also with three children fighting to live temporarily on green belt land at Sutton-at-Hone near Dartford, Kent.

The judge said Pickles’ department had “coined and developed” a practice in 2013 and 2014 of calling in all, and then a majority, of green belt Traveller cases – most involving Romany Gypsies or Irish Travellers – “which discriminated unlawfully against a racial group”.

He ruled that the Moore and Coates cases were two such “unlawful recoveries” and quashed them.

The planning minister, Brandon Lewis, said: “This government makes no apologies for seeking to safeguard green belt protection and trying to bring a sense of fair play to the planning system.

“The government’s planning policy is clear that both temporary and permanent traveller sites are inappropriate development in the green belt. Today’s judgment does not question that principle.”

But the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which supported the Gypsy challenge, welcomed the judge’s finding of indirect discrimination.

An EHRC spokesman said: “We have a duty to protect everyone from discrimination and ensure that the law is applied fairly, consistently and equally for all.

“We understand the need to be sensitive about green belt development but this should not be used to single out individuals for unlawful discrimination.

“Planning decisions should be taken on the merits of an application, not the characteristics of the applicant.”

Gypsy and Traveller leaders have condemned Pickles’ policy which, they argue, has enabled him to predominantly overturn recommendations to allow site planning appeals.

They say local councils have consistently failed to earmark land for potential sites in local plans, and many Gypsies and Travellers have bought land, including in the green belt, to develop sites for themselves

But this wasnt fair play – he didn’t call in every house for the settled community.  It was discrimination.

Advertisements

Why Obama isnt worried About Killing off the US Fracking Industry

We know why Obama is supporting the Saudis flooding the world with cheap oil. The Same trick Ronald Regen used, Russia (and Irans) greatest geopolitical weaknesses are  over-reliance on oil.  Its a trick learned from Ronald Reagan, why go to war when you can bankrupt you opponents (and in this case who they support Syria).

But wont this kill off the US Fracking Industry.

Yes.

Why isnt he worried?

Its already dead, Solar has reached grid parity and according to every independent analysis is now far cheaper than gas in almost every state bar Alaska and will be in all statres by 2016.

So it a collosal wasted investment, better to kill it off before it grows too large and create major economic ructions.

Dont you think the Pentagon’s OAN hasnt already wargamed this many times?  Whilst there was a lot of US think tank modelling of the impact of hi

At least history will count this move well – as for George Osborne – what a short sighted plonker. He looks like someone backing a national Whale Oil Strategy in 1900.

If you still have stocks in Oil – look at this graph of doom from Deutsche Bank

Of course as solar gets dramatically cheaper watch out for the bubble popping on banks who have heavily leant to fracking firms as they rapidly default.

Northampton Borough Votes Unanimously to Ignore its Own Adopted Core Strategy

Northampton Chronicle

Plans to build 2,300 new homes on green space near Hardingstone and Collingtree have been labelled ‘insanity’ by villagers, as they backed a Northampton Borough Council objection to the scheme.

The authority voted unanimously in favour of lodging a formal objection to policies N5 and N6 of the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy at last night’s full council meeting.

The major planning blueprint, which began to be formed in 2007, shows which areas are suitable for housing expansion in the west of the county and was ratified in December.

But villagers in Collingtree and Hardingstone have strongly objected to the strategy since it first emerged – with 1,500 signing a petition against building on the green areas between the villages.

Last night, Councillor Tim Hadland (Con, Duston), cabinet member for planning and regeneration, said the council would throw its weight behind efforts to get the strategy amended.

He said: “Quite clearly Collingtree is not sustainable, in terms of educational provision, pollution, flooding, you name it.

“Anyone who has experienced the traffic infrastructure in that bottom right hand corner of Northampton knows that the traffic really is creeping and beginning to effect the economy of Brackmills businesses.”

Several Collingtree and Hardingstone residents spoke during the meeting to commend the council on its objection.

In relation to the 1,000 homes plan at Collingtree, considered as a ‘sustainable urban extension’ in the strategy, Rod Sellers said: “The same basic issues about this have been raised time and time again. There are few economic benefits.

“You could not find a site more likely to encourage the use of a car – it’s hemmed in on all sides.”

Housing developers Bovis, has already submitted plans to build 1,000 homes on the Collingtree site.

But the council also objected to what the authority has called the “limited provision for a north-west bypass,” set out in policy T7 of the Joint Core strategy.

The proposed plan would only see a single carriageway road start from New Sandy Lane, but stop less than two miles away near the Windhover pub in Chapel Brampton.

Councillor Hadland said: “Who in their right mind would propose building a bypass starting in the middle of the proposed route.

“It’s effectively a road from nowhere to nowhere.”

Councillor Hadland said the council could support the rest of the joint core strategy providing the Collingtree and Hardingstone sites were removed and the bypass route amended.

So lets see what the inspector said last year in his binding report on Collingtree.

Concerns over potential traffic problems, particularly on Rowtree Road, are understandable with a scheme of this scale. However, funds from the development will be provided to deliver local road and bus service improvements, as well as towards the programmed works on the Wootton Interchange as part of the NGMS (GLD 24). Together with other measures envisaged under other plan policies to help achieve “modal shift”, these should be sufficient to deliver a suitably integrated transport network to satisfactorily serve the site for the scale of development planned, albeit the overall targets are acknowledged to be challenging.

On flooding he said it was acceptable (Northampton officers did not even raise his as a major concern in their report ,nor education provision,

As the inspector concluded

In short, this is a suitably located and well contained site that is physically capable of delivering a SUE, starting in the first part of the plan period.Subject to appropriate detailed design and layout, it should relate well to the existing housing nearby in visual and physical terms and provide positive impacts overall, as noted in the SA, including importantly in respect of local flood risks.

What a joke why have up to date local plans if cllrs pander to localised objections and ignore independent reports about whether these have weight,  This case will go to appeal, costs will be awarded and the possibly the district auditor will seek to recover costs from cllrs.  This is precisely one of the cases of unreasonable behaviour in the costs circular.

Fabian Report Misses Key Reason Windfall Appeal Refusals Shoots Up

In carrying out any analysis of appeals you should always:

a) distinguish appeals before and after a change in national policy rather in arbitrary calender years

b) Distinguish between appeals decided by inspectors and those called in or recovered.

Yet another report, this time by the Fabians into Windfarms, fails to do this.

However the key shift was in 2013 when the courts held, in effect, that national policy in the NPPF on the setting of Heritage Assets was unlawful because it did not properly reflect the statutory duties of the LB & Conservation Areas Act, and in that case the Inspector seemed to have ignored national policy anyway.

Every single called in appeal since has had a rider referring to this case.

Now of course Pickles has used the case as an exclude to call everything in and refuse them, but inspectors have been recommending far more for refusal anyway because of the poor drafting of the NPPF on heritage matters.  So in a report on policy should you not be looking at policy and how it is applied?

Court Finds Pickles Discriminated Against Travellers by having an Undisclosed Policy for Recovering All Cases

Stunning case.  The Court finds the SoS ignored the advice of his own chief inspector and officials and had an secret recovery policy which was not disclosed to parliament.  As a result all such cases will now need to be unpicked.  Totally counterproductive in enforcement terms.

Here

What a cock up, having a secret unlawful racially discriminatory policy hidden from Parliament, ignoring advice having precisely and predictably the opposite intent as was intended as these sites will now even if eventually losing at appeal will now stay for several more years whilst this is unpicked at huge expense,in some cases 20+ days at inquiry per case.

Pickles should resign – disgraceful.

Thanks to Tetlow King for the decision.

Further Thoughts

How do lawyers think this will be unpicked?

At what point are the decisions estopped?

Surely it is illogical to say people have had to wait longer and then rehear the cases?

If it is the SoS eecovery which was at fault do decisions then simply can decided by PINs alone

Will Eric Taje this to the Court of Appeal, if any to cause delay?

Confused you will be