Waltham St Lawrence Gypsy eviction challenge fails

Gypsy families have lost the latest round of a legal battle to prevent their eviction from an illegal campsite in the green belt of Berkshire.

A deputy High Court judge has upheld a council's decision to take direct action to remove them from land at Shurlock Road, Waltham St Lawrence.

The site has been occupied without planning permission since 2009.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has set aside £300,000 in its bid to evict about 10 families.

Judge Jarman QC, sitting in London, rejected an application by Gypsies Jane Eastwood and Bonnie Rusher.


They had applied for orders quashing the council's attempts to secure compliance with an enforcement notice issued in December 2009.

Lawyers representing the families argued the decision to take direct action to clear the site was "perverse".

They said the council's planners had not given "meaningful weight" to the authority's own failure to offer alternative pitches, even though a planning inspector and the communities secretary had expected them to be provided.

Judge Jarman said the court was concerned with the legality of the council's decision and not its merits.

The judge ruled Ms Eastwood and Ms Rusher had "fallen short" of establishing the council's decision was legally perverse.

But the judge agreed that a stay preventing action against the Gypsies should remain in place for about a week so that consideration could be given to "whether there should be a fresh decision" on the case.

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