A traveller who flooded six neighbours’ homes after he dumped a pile of hard core rubble onto his land without permission has won the right to create a gipsy site close to homes in a South Derbyshire village.
The long-running saga has concluded with this approval at the appeal stage – but with strict conditions.
John Doherty has been embroiled in a row with South Derbyshire District Council which refused him permission for a five-pitch gipsy site on land to the rear of 137 to 149 Woodville Road, Overseal, but independent Government inspector Paul Dignan approved the plans after the applicant appealed the council’s decision.
Despite a recommendation for approval from the council’s planning officers, its planning committee refused permission claiming that it could cause harm to the living conditions of neighbours due to the movement of commercial vehicles in and out of the site.
Planning officers originally said a planning condition could be imposed to prevent commercial vehicles being brought onto the site, but the committee said restricting commercial activity would be unreasonable due to likelihood of the occupants' employment in the construction/groundworks sector.
However, the inspector argued that as four homes had already been approved for the site, he believed this would be noisier than a five-pitch traveller site with restrictions on commercial activity.
He said: "It is commonplace to both prevent commercial activities and restrict vehicles using traveller sites by maximum weight, usually 3.5 tonnes. I can see no good reason why such conditions would not satisfactorily address the issue of noise and disturbance arising from the use of the access, nor do I consider the use of such conditions to be unreasonable."
The inspector added that similar sites in the district are subject to these conditions, claiming the council has not expressed any concern about the enforceability of those conditions. The council pointed out that these other sites are not close enough to neighbours but the inspector said: "While I accept that this site may be more sensitive, there is no evidence that the proposed development would be likely to have a materially greater impact in terms of noise and disturbance than the approved housing scheme."
Among the conditions the inspector has put in place is that no vehicle over 3.5 tonnes and no commercial machinery or equipment shall be brought to, parked, stationed or stored at the site.
After Mr Doherty brought hardcore rubble onto the land without permission, he was issued an enforcement notice by the district council requiring him to remove everything. The hard core caused homes to be flooded as water was unable to drain away as it should.
He appealed the enforcement notice claiming it was unreasonable to take the hardcore off the land.
The inspector upheld the notice forcing him to remove it before ensuring he provides details of landscaping, site levels and means of foul and surface water drainage and details of materials to be used for hardstanding.