Earnley couple win year-long fight to keep caravans

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A couple have won their year-long battle to keep caravans on their land.

In September 2015, Richard and Shirley Valler were served with an enforcement notice from Chichester District Council to remove the four mobile homes from a small piece of land they own at Marsh Farm in Earnley.

The council had claimed that the couple had breached planning regulations by positioning the caravans there for them to live in.

They were also ordered to remove associated storage sheds and break up an access road to the site.

Mr and Mrs Valler appealed the decision, and following a Government hearing in July, the Planning Inspectorate has quashed the enforcement notice and granted planning permission.

In a statement on the successful appeal decision, inspector Simon Hand said the couple had demonstrated that they were ethnic gypsies.

The council had claimed that because they no longer travelled, due to age and ill-health, they no longer fell under the new definition of gypsies.

Mr Hand said: “The Vallers’ status as gypsies has been important in determining the outcome of the appeal.”

He added: “I have also borne in mind the council’s failure to provide a five-year supply of sites, the current shortfall and the lack of any alternative sites.” Conditions include a list of occupiers for each mobile home, and restricting the site to gypsies.

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