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Direct action under s.178 TCPA

Travellers caravans iStock 000010792699XSmall 164x219The High Court has dismissed a claim for judicial review of a decision by a local planning authority to take direct action to remove travellers from a site pursuant to s.178 TCPA 1990.

 David Lintott explains why.

Proportionality was for a local planning authority to determine when deciding to take direct action to remove travellers from a site, and its decision was lawful

, the High Court has ruled in Eastwood v The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead [2015] EWHC 151 (Admin) HHJ Milwyn Jarman Q.C.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead decided to take direct action to remove travellers occupying a site in the borough after the expiry of the compliance period on an enforcement notice.

The claimant sought to challenge that decision arguing that the defendant authority had failed to give any meaningful weight to its failure to provide alternative pitches in circumstances where both the Inspector and Secretary of State had expected that it would when varying the compliance period on the enforcement notice to 18 months.

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The Court held at [37] that the council had considered the basis upon which the Inspector and the Secretary of State had varied the time for compliance with the notice to 18 months. However, the fact remained that both were of the view that the notice was valid and that temporary planning permission should not be granted. Even though the expectation of the Inspector and Secretary of State that alternative sites would come forward within that timescale was not fulfilled, the Sub Committee were entitled to come to the conclusion that given the uncertainty which at the time of its decision existed as to when if at all suitable alternative sites might come forward, it was not proportionate to defer direct action, hard though that decision was.

The Court noted at paragraph [30] that, as Sullivan LJ observed when refusing permission to appeal on the other grounds, there are important differences between 187B and section 178. The first is that the court has its own discretion whether or not to grant an injunction under section 187B and will form its own judgment as to whether or not injunctive relief is granted. The second is that it is possible for an injunction to be granted where no enforcement notice has been served, so it would be necessary for the court to form its own view of proportionality. Under s.178 proportionality is for the local planning authority.

David Lintott is a barrister at Cornerstone Barristers and successfully appeared for the defendant local planning authority. He can be contacted on 020 7242 4986 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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