Coates and others v South Buckinghamshire District Council: CA 22 Oct 2004

The local authority had required the applicants to remove their mobile homes from land. They complained that the judge had failed properly to explain how he had reached his decision as to the proportionality of the pressing social need, and the interference with their human rights.
Held: ‘The judge’s reasons should make clear to the parties why he has reached his decision. Where he has had to balance competing factors it will usually be possible to explain why he has concluded that some have outweighed others. Even where the competition is so unequal that the factors speak for themselves it is desirable to say so.’ The plight of Gypsies or others who travel in caravans with no permanent place to rest is an unhappy one. They can rightly complain that their plight reflects a failure on the part of some authorities to comply with their statutory duty to provide sites for such Travellers. That cannot, however, entitle them to stop wherever they choose and contend that their rights under Article 8 entitle them to remain. Here the factors that I have outlined make the overall picture particularly unattractive. The site chosen was a very sensitive part of the green belt. It was a site where Gypsies had already fought and lost a lengthy planning battle. The appeal was dismissed. Sedley LJ (dissenting) said: ‘While the history of contumacious defiance both of the planning regime and of the court’s orders has placed the defendants in the worst possible position to ask for the court’s help, these people, unlawfully and defiantly though they have behaved, at least have the excuse that for 25 years local authorities throughout England and Wales failed to carry out their statutory duty to provide proper sites in substitution for the commons they were energetically ditching and fencing against entry by caravans, and that central government failed consistently to exercise its statutory enforcement powers against these local authorities’


Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers MR, Lord Justice Sedley and Lord Justice Nueberger


Times 27-Oct-2004, [2004] EWCA Civ 1378




England and Wales


Appeal fromCoates and others v South Bucks District Council ChD 27-Jan-2004
. .
CitedWrexham County Borough Council v Berry; South Buckinghamshire District Council v Porter and another; Chichester District Council v Searle and others HL 22-May-2003
The appellants challenged the refusal to grant them injunctions to prevent Roma parking caravans on land they had purchased.
Held: Parliament had given to local authorities exclusive jurisdiction on matters of planning policy, but when an . .
CitedGallagher v Castle Vale Action Trust Ltd CA 23-Feb-2001
The court emphasised the need not merely to identify the relevant factors that weigh in each direction when considering whether to make an order for possession in a nuisance case, but to explain clearly why it is or is not proportionate to interfere . .
CitedLambeth London Borough Council v Howard CA 6-Mar-2001
Any attempt to evict a person, whether directly or indirectly or by process of law, from his or her home is on the face of it a derogation from the respect to which the home is prima facie entitled. Courts should be careful fully to explain any . .
CitedDavis and Others v Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council CA 26-Feb-2004
The claimants were travelling showmen who had purchased land, and after failing to apply for permission, moved onto the land and began to live there.
Held: The cultural identity of travelling show-people and their status, as a matter of . .
CitedRegina (Daly) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 23-May-2001
A prison policy requiring prisoners not to be present when their property was searched and their mail was examined was unlawful. The policy had been introduced after failures in search procedures where officers had been intimidated by the presence . .
CitedThe First Secretary of State, Grant Doe, Gregory Yates, Paul Eames v Chichester District Council CA 29-Sep-2004
The appellants challenged a decision to grant planning consent for a private gipsy with mobile homes. The issue was whether the council in refusing permission and in issuing enforcement proceedings, had infringed the applicants human rights. The . .
CitedRegina v Lincolnshire County Council Ex Parte Atkinson; Regina v Wealden District Council Ex Parte Wales and Others QBD 3-Oct-1995
A local Authority must make proper welfare enquiries before seeking to remove unlawful campers. The new draconic legislation must be seen in its context. The commons of England provided lawful stopping places for people whose way of life was or had . .
CitedChapman v United Kingdom; similar ECHR 18-Jan-2001
The question arose as to the refusal of planning permission and the service of an enforcement notice against Mrs Chapman who wished to place her caravan on a plot of land in the Green Belt. The refusal of planning permission and the enforcement . .

Cited by:

Appealed toCoates and others v South Bucks District Council ChD 27-Jan-2004
. .
CitedMid-Bedfordshire District Council v Thomas Brown and others CA 20-Dec-2004
The land owners, gypsies, had purchased agricultural land intending to occupy it as residential land in breach of green belt planning controls. The council had obtained an injunction, but appealed its suspension.
Held: The council’s appeal . .
CitedWilson v Wychavon District Council and Another Admn 20-Dec-2005
The claimant complained that the law which protected an occupier of a dwelling house from a temporary stop notice did not apply to those living in caravans, and that this was discriminatory.
Held: The claim failed. ‘usually a change of use of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Planning, Human Rights

Updated: 27 June 2022; Ref: scu.218710