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Gypsy five over-ruled in discrimination row

PUBLISHED: 16:24 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 10:43 12 August 2010

A GROUP of Gypsies have failed to make legal history after a ruling by the High Court. Five Irish travellers failed in their latest bid to win their race discrimination test against Bromley council

A GROUP of Gypsies have failed to make legal history after a ruling by the High Court.

Five Irish travellers failed in their latest bid to win their race discrimination test against Bromley council over refusal of planning permission on a former orchard site in Orpington.

The House of Lords ruled the council was not racist, by refusing Mark Baker, Lucy Owen, Pamela Maughan, Debbie Ross and Anta Ross, planning permission for their caravans and mobile homes at land within Waldens farm.

The planning application was first refused by the council in 2006, and then by a Government planning inspector on appeal.

In the Appeal Court decision now upheld by the law lords, Lord Justice Dyson ruled that the inspector had been "alive to the plight of gypsies and travellers."

He added: "Her decision letter is a model of clarity, economy of language and careful treatment of the issues."

She had taken the view that to permit the development would reduce the openness of the countryside and contribute to its urbanisation.

The five gypsies said there is nowhere for them to live within Bromley's area and claim it would be too dangerous to move on to two council run sites because of a history of trouble between English and Irish gypsies.

A spokesman from Bromley council said: "The council rejected the planning applications as they would have constituted inappropriate development in Green Belt land."

But acting secretary of the Gypsy Council and Professor of Romani Studies, Thomas Acton, said: "There is a human right for everyone to live without troubling others according to their cultural preferences. This living option is being denied in a racist way. We believe the UK planning system is generically and institutionally discriminatory towards gypsies in failing to allow adequate provision of caravan sites."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk


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