A GYPSY has been allowed to keep his home in East Grimstead after an inspector overturned Wiltshire Council’s decision to refuse him planning permission to stay.

The council had refused to grant David Murphy a change of use to a residential Gypsy site for two caravans and an amenity block on land at Dillions Farm, Dean Road in East Grimstead because the site was in open countryside and lacked access to services and amenities.

But Mr Murphy appealed against the decision and inspector Bridget Campbell granted permission for him and his son to live there.

Mr Murphy has lived on the site for 20 years but accepts it was not lawful residence as he tried to hide his occupation of the land from the council.

There is already a stable building on the site which Mr Murphy uses as a utility/day room and a barn which is used for his hobby of restoring traditional Gypsy and showmen’s wagons. The proposed amenity block is for his son to use.

Mr Murphy is in his late 50s and has stopped travelling for work due to poor health. He told the inspector he needs his son Dale on site to take care of him, and neighbours help out when Dale is away travelling.

The inspector did not agree with the council’s decision and said there was an urgent need for more Gypsy pitches in the south Wiltshire area.

She said: “I find the site to be a suitable location for a Gypsy site, which would not undermine the settlement strategy for the area, is within a reasonable distance of services and would not harm the countryside.”