VOTE: Is the High Court’s ruling on Gypsies just?

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Two gypsy families are set to be thrown off their illegal encampment in the South Downs National Park after losing a vital High Court battle with communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles.

Jimmy and Christopher Searle had hoped Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart would quash Mr Pickles’ decision to make them leave land they have controversially occupied at Three Cornered Piece, East Harting, for nearly three years.

Instead the judge ruled the secretary of state was entitled to use his own ‘planning judgement’ to overrule a planning inspector’s recommendation that the families should be given a three-year temporary permission.

The Searles will now be given a year to get off the land while Chichester District Council has been told to be more vigorous in finding sites on which gypsies can live.

The court ruling ends another chapter in the long-running saga which saw South Harting brought to a standstill earlier this year while police escorted a mobile home to the site.

For the full story see today’s Midhurst and Petworth Observer (Thursday, August 23, edition).

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