Gypsies lose their appeal

TWO Gypsy families who set up home in Huntingdonshire without planning permission have failed in an appeal against a High Court order which forced them from the land. William Stubley, Tom Gaskin, Peter Gaskin, and Wayne Buckley had hoped to challenge the

TWO Gypsy families who set up home in Huntingdonshire without planning permission have failed in an appeal against a High Court order which forced them from the land.

William Stubley, Tom Gaskin, Peter Gaskin, and Wayne Buckley had hoped to challenge the order that prevented them living on the land they own at Catworth.

But on Monday they were told the order, which was originally sought by Huntingdonshire District Council in August, would remain in place.

Lord Justice Chadwick refused the men permission to bring a full appeal and ruled: "On the facts as the judge understood them, the order which he made was plainly one which he is entitled to make."

However, the men were thrown a potential lifeline. Mr Chadwick made it clear that it was open to the Gypsies to apply to the High Court to vary the order.

"If the facts turned out to be different, the judge would have an opportunity to reconsider what his decision should be," he said.

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In they decide not to do this, the families will now have to wait until HDC has considered their planning application for the site to discover whether they will be allowed to live on the land.

A spokesman for Huntingdonshire District Council said the authority was aware of the High Court decision. No date had been set for a decision on the travellers' planning application.

On Monday the four men had hoped to overturn the order made by Mr Justice Openshaw on August 10, seven days after they moved onto the site they own in Thrapston Road, Catworth.

A month later the men were given suspended prison sentences for contempt of court in failing to leave the site.

Following that decision, the families moved off the land, hoping to return and settle in the village at a later date.

The court was told that at one point HDC had observed 12 caravans and an earthmover on the land.

They had covered part of the land with hardstanding, and were asked to halt any further developments until potentially being granted planning permission.

When work continued, HDC took legal action. However, the Gypsies claim that HDC had assured them that its court move was intended to prevent any further development, rather than requiring them to leave the site with their families and vehicles.

Peter Gaskin, one of the travellers named on the injunction, told The Hunts Post yesterday (Tuesday). "We are still considering what to do but we have not been left any choice.

"It is getting cold and wet and hard to be on the road with small children. The council does not seem to want to do anything to help us. We have not ruled out moving back onto the site, even if it will mean that four of us will have to go to prison.

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