Successful appeal orders redetermination on permanent site for elderly and disabled Gypsies and Travellers


Re: Re: Smith v. Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities & Anor [2022] EWCA Civ 1391

Ms. Smith challenged the refusal of her application for planning permission for a permanent site for Gypsies and Travellers at Coalville in Leicestershire.

The principal issue concerned the August 2015 amendment by the Secretary of State of the definition of “Gypsies and Travellers”, set out in the policy document “Planning Policy for Traveller Sites”. Prior to that date, the definition expressly included those who had permanently ceased travelling as a result of, inter alia, disability or old age. The amendment excluded that group of Gypsies and Travellers from the definition, which indirectly discriminated against elderly and disabled Gypsies and Travellers.

The court previously concluded that the discrimination was not unlawful, finding it justified, and therefore rejected the appellant’s challenge of the inspector’s decision. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, quashing the inspector’s decision and remitting the case to the Secretary of State for redetermination of the appellant’s appeal. The indirect discrimination suffered by the appellant, on the basis of age, race and disability, had not been justified.

David Wolfe KC acted for the intervenors in this case.