Council foots £10,000 travellers legal costs after losing appeal over site in Semington (From Wiltshire Times)
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Council foots £10,000 travellers legal costs after losing appeal over site in Semington
Wiltshire Council has paid £10,000 in costs to the legal team who represented a family of travellers in a planning appeal.
The council lost an appeal against its refusal to allow the Ward family to make their pitch on land next to the Semington Crematorium, on the A361, permanent.
The family moved onto the land in in 2008, then got retrospective planning permission to remain for three years.
That permission expired last summer and an application to make the eight-caravan pitch and associated works permanent was refused by councillors, against advice of planning officers.
The Wards appealed and a planning inspector overruled the council and granted permanent permission, following three days of hearings in December and January.
As a consequence of losing the appeal the council became liable for paying the Wards’ legal costs, a bill which has come to £9,594. The council spent about the same in preparing its own legal arguments.
A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “The council defended this appeal using all its own resources, which kept costs as low as possible.
“We estimate it cost £9,345 in officer time to defend this appeal. This includes officers from our legal and planning teams doing preparatory work and also attending the three-day hearing.
“The council also paid £9,594 pursuant to a costs award to the appellants who were successful in their appeal.”