Hampstead Heath North Fairground site: Planning inspector rejects appeal over permanent caravan plan
PUBLISHED: 13:20 10 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:20 10 February 2020
Another site in the Vale of Health has been saved from developers after the planning inspectorate rejected a plan to build seven permanent static caravans after a three-year long dispute.
In 2017, after acquiring an option to develop the North Fairground site, Knightsbridge Parks LLP sought a certificate establishing that it was currently used as a permanent residential venue - this would have enabled them to redevelop and create a permanent caravan site there.
But Camden Council rejected this bid, and with the City of London Corporation (CoLC), the Heath and Hampstead Society and the Vale of Health Society all fought an appeal from Knightsbridge before the planning inspectorate.
In January, inspector JA Murray dismissed the appeal and in ruling against the plan, found in favour of those parties saying they were satisfied that, for at least ten years, "whilst the intensity of the use fluctuated, the appeal site had been used for the accommodation of showpeople (including retired showpeople) in caravans and mobile homes and for the storage, maintenance, repair, cleaning and testing of fairground equipment and vehicles".
The inspector added: "The evidence shows that the site has been a "classic example" of a showpeople's site, including use for the storage, maintenance, repair, cleaning and testing of fairground equipment, as well as residential occupation of caravans by showpeople and retired showpeople.
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"It has never been in entirely residential use."
Afterwards, Heath and Hampstead Society chair Marc Hutchinson told this newspaper: "To get a legal certificate of permitted use, you need to show what the use has been for the last ten years - the applicant has never done that."
Thanking the CoLC, Camden, and the Vale of Health Society, Marc added: "You would think there would have been rent receipts or similar, right? It was very easy in the end for the inspector to determine that, and we are delighted at the outcome."
At a meeting of the City of London's Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen's Park committee, Heath superintendent Bob Warnock said: "In good news from planning, the inspector dismissed the appeal and therefore protected it from development."
He also extended thanks to the other parties to the inquiry.
This newspaper has been unable to contact Knightsbridge LLP.