End of a chapter? No, it’s the start...

The Observer report on the High Court ordering our local ‘gypsies’ to quit their ‘encampment’ was incomplete.

Having bought a rural field in 2009, these travellers didn’t just set up house on it without planning permission.

When Chichester District Council officials visited, and warned them not to break planning law, they said they wouldn’t – and at once did just that, installing two large ‘mobile’ homes.

The council served notice on them to remove these.

They challenged that, lost, and then appealed to Whitehall (where they ultimately lost again, so went to the High Court).

All this prevented the council enforcing its notice, and should have stopped the travellers altering ‘facts on the ground’. No way.

Last winter they built a massive concrete base – again, without even seeking planning permission and in defiance of a further council notice forbidding any such work.

In February, in place of their two earlier residences, they plonked on this base a single huge one: an elegant small bungalow, whose rudimentary wheels no more make it genuinely ‘mobile’ than a kiwi’s wings enable that bird to fly.

It arrived on a giant truck.

These weren’t poor innocents in need of a home (at least some of them already had one).

Relying on traveller status, they knowingly defied the law, and turned pasture into a building site.

The Observer calls the court judgement ‘the end of a chapter’. 
I suspect it will prove the start of a new one.

Ordered to leave within a year, these ‘travellers’ will still be there next autumn, with fresh legal action in hand – and maybe fresh unlawful building work.

David Phillips,

Petersfield