Dale Farm eviction looms

No one knows exactly when the removal of 86 families from an illegal Traveller site in Crays Hill, Essex, will begin.

But now the funding is in place for the clearance operation, Basildon Council is expected to serve a 28-day eviction notice on the residents of Dale Farm very soon.

One part of the farm has been occupied legally by Gypsies since the 1960s, but the 10-year battle began when Irish Travellers moved onto a patch of land next to the legal site in 2001.

Although they had bought the land from a scrap merchant, the Travellers were refused planning permission by Basildon Council on the grounds that it was green belt land.

Now the imminent threat of eviction looms.



A lesson in community cohesion

New warning about localism for Gypsies and Travellers

“Lives at risk” say Dale Farm campaigners

Localism: who’s really got the power?



Filed under Watch

7 responses to “Dale Farm eviction looms

  1. Eamonn Judge

    As usual in real life you cannot satisfy one group in society without dissatisfying someone else. The position of the travellers – we have to have somewhere to live so we have to break the law – is not dissimilar to the analogy one can make with the public sector strike over pensions which will take place this coming Friday. The government says that the public sector pension system is unsustainable, as it is largely funded by taxpayers who cannot afford to provide anywhere remotely near the same pension for themselves in the private sector. The unions say: the average public sector pension is only £4,000, how can you object to that? One can object on the basis that the comparison is irrelevant: even if it is only £4,000 the contributions paid by employee and employer will still be totally inadequate to fund it, and someone else will still be paying taxes to fund it who does not have a pension forthcoming at all.

    With the travellers, you have local communities which exist from following a legal planning framework which set out where development can take place which reflects the balance of benefits and costs in the community as a whole. Everyone knows and agrees that if you want to develop a site it has to fit into that framework, and they know that if they try to develop outside that framework they risk demolition. The alternative is chaos, with people just doing what they want. So the position of the travellers is not unusual: demolitions take place all round the country all the time of properties put up by people who tried to buck the system.

    Having been there for so long is unfortunate for the travellers, but like someone who erects an illegal building, they were not forced to do it. Eighty-six families took a risk. Hundreds of people around the country every year take risks with the planning system, and a lot lose, as should be the case if we live in a law-based society. Ten years is not an unusual period of time for such a case to go on, as the legal system allows one to exhaust every possibility before the bailiffs move in. In most other countries the bailiffs would have moved in long ago.

    So, if the eviction takes place, what do the families do? Clearly, this is an issue for the authorities. But what is clear is that it is not the responsibility of the local residents who have obeyed law. Maybe the local authority should have acted earlier: most people on the site come from far outside the area, and clearly came in to fill a vacuum not controlled by the authority. .But it still does not avoid the issue that you cannot solve your own problems by imposing them on someone else. That way lies chaos, and in this society in 2011 we are not that far from that stage generally, whether with pensions, benefits, immigration, education, the legal system, or whatever.

    • Eileen Barrett

      I agree, the local authority should have acted much earlier. As local residents have pointed out the site has become too big for the area. Also, the families appear to have become very settled there so eviction and related upheaval at this stage will be traumatic and have far reaching consequences for them.

  2. Barry Ewart

    I think we should call ‘Time Out’ and stop the eviction. Then let the Residents Assn put in their alternative plans where they would have adequate water supplies, sewerage etc which we would expect for all human beings.

  3. Barry Ewart

    Just had a thought – the police, council. bailiffs turn up to be faced by the residents singing John Lennon’s ” Give Peace a Chance.”

  4. Ken Burley

    This is a very difficult problem; the Gypsy andTraveller Community should obey the law like everybody should. In other words, they should seek planning permision before moving onto a site; failure to do so will inevitably cause tension and strife. On the other hand, LA’s should ensure through the planning process there should be sufficient allocated sites with planning permission.

    • Mick

      LA’s will never identify sufficient sites as their elected members,who make up all local planning committees,will not act against the wishes of those who elected them.
      Only the government can crack this nut.Either by mandatory legislation that all LA’s must identify a minimum number of sites where PP will be granted (the proposals in the Localism Bill are not strong enough) or providing government owned land (eg former MoD or NHS) for which they will legislate to guarantee PP.

  5. Robbie

    They’ve said themselves that if they’re evicted they’ll go back to Ireland (most appear to have homes there anyway) so why not just go back now and stop the “agro” Oh No! that would mean that they’d have to start paying tax etc like the rest of us!!

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