Council ‘provided enough pitches’


Bedford Borough Council has triumphed in a High Court legal challenge to a Government decision that it had not provided enough pitches for gypsies and travellers.

The council - which says its up-to-date figures show a surplus of pitches - had attacked a Government planning inspector’s decision to grant planning permission for a four-pitch gypsy site at Bedford Road, Roxton, to meet “unmet need”.

The country’s planning supremo, Secretary of State for Communities and Government Eric Pickles had elected not to defend the decision, taken by one of his inspectors last March.

But recipient of the planning permission Kelly Brown had fought to uphold it.

Finding in favour of the council, deputy judge Timothy Straker QC found that the inspector’s decision was “fundamentally flawed” in respect of the key issue of whether there was an unmet need for pitches in Bedford borough. He ordered her to pay £10,000 towards the council’s legal costs within one month, with an additional £5,000 to be paid by the Secretary of State.

A spokesman for the council said: “This decision taken by the High Court supports the action taken by Bedford Borough Council and demonstrates the council’s approach to providing for gypsies and travellers is correct and meets Government guidelines.”