Pickles Ridiculous Spin on his Court Loss – Dont Ban Gypsies from the Green Belt it Controvenes Their Human Rights

This is the spin being fed to the Telegraph . Pre-election racist rabble rousing.  The Judgement was nothing to do with Green Belt, everything to do with Pickles racism.


Gypsies will no longer automatically be banned from setting up camp on Green Belt land after the High Court ruled that the Government has been discriminating against travellers.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles introduced a policy of ministers personally reviewing and rejecting all bids made by gypsies in 2013 in attempt to prevent a repeat of controversies like the Dale Farm fiasco in Essex.

But yesterday judges said that the policy amounted to discrimination against the travelling community and ordered Mr Pickles to stop calling in automatically calling in all planning appeals by travellers.

The ruling means that more appeals by travellers to build on the Green Belt – the ribbon of land around towns and cities which controls urban sprawl – will be heard by unaccountable planning inspectors who are likely to give less weight to the importance of these protected green areas.

Last night countryside campaigners said they were concerned by the ruling. Shaun Spiers, the chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “Local authorities should make proper provision for accommodating gypsy and traveller families. Too few do so and this is a major problem.

Over the past year ministers have called in or recovered around 100 planning appeals from travellers who have been denied the right to build on green belt land by local council planning departments.

Since the change in policy more appeals to build on the Green Belt had been turned down.

After the ruling – which forces ministers only to call in certain developments – this figure is likely to fall substantially, to around 60, with the remaining 40 considered by planning inspectors. The fear is that more of these appeals will be allowed because ministers will not have direct oversight.

One departmental source [Sheriden Westlake surely] said that it was “fair to say that ministers have given greater weight of the importance of protecting the Green Belt” when deciding on competing issues in a planning appeal.

Last night it emerged that the Government would publish new planning rules to strengthen the rights of ministers to protect the Green Belt in coming weeks.

The source said: “Ministers are quite determined to increase protections of the Green Belt. We have already done a lot – we want to do more. Is Eric Pickles going to be discouraged? No – we will redouble our efforts to protect the Green Belt.”

In the ruling, Mr Justice Gilbart ruled that Mr Pickles’ policy had discriminated against gypsies and travellers, breaching the Equality Act 2010 and the human rights of two Romany gypsies from Kent.

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.

Mr Pickles issued the new guidance to councils on how they can use their legal powers to remove illegal sites, as well as protest camps and squatters on public or private land.

He said at the time that local authorities must act more quickly to shut down unauthorised encampments to prevent the forced £7million eviction of Dale Farm, once the UK’s largest travellers sites, on green belt land in Crays Hill, Essex, in 2011.

However the changes were attacked by travellers groups. Joseph Jones, chairman of the gypsy council, said: “It’s creating tension it’s a negative thing to do. At the moment it seems like a theme. It seems like open season on ethnic minorities.”

I think the new rules willbe to call in everything over a very small threshold in the Green Belt, as the chief planning inspector and his own officials war this will slow everything down o a grinding halt, but that is the idea.