Gypsy sites: grant of temporary planning permission: whether suitable permanent sites may become available at the end of the period of temporary planning permission

Hughie Sykes v Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government and Runnymede Borough Council [2020] EWHC 112 (Admin) –

This was a challenge against the planning inspector’s appeal decision.  Grounds 3 – 4 (the Claimant did not pursue the first 2 grounds; there were a further 2 grounds) related to one of the criteria in the National Planning Practice Guidance for granting temporary planning permission (which the 2015 Planning Policy for Travellers’ Sites references) which is where it can be demonstrated that planning circumstances would change and in this case suitable permanent gypsy sites would become available at the end of period of temporary permission.  

In this case, Lang J, DBE declined to rule on whether the consideration of whether permanent sites would become available extended to outside the borough and to the entire County of Surrey or whether it extended beyond the 4-year period discussed at the planning appeal, partly because these grounds were not put properly before the inspector.  Instead she accepted the Council’s argument that the inspector’s decision that a  temporary permission, even in circumstances where a suitable permanent site would become available at the end of the period of the temporary permission, would result in unacceptable harm to the Green Belt in this case, meant that grounds 3 and 4 would not have made a difference to the final outcome..


This is a difficult point  for the Claimant to argue because although the lack of permanent site is a consideration weighing towards the grant of permission, it can also weigh against the grant of temporary permission where there is little hope of the authority providing suitable permanent sites for the gypsies to move on to when the temporary permission expires.   On this point, the judge referred to Linfoot v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Chorley Borough Council [2012] EWHC 3514 and Beaver v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and South Cambridgeshire District Councili [2015] 1774.  

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