Council plans new push to evict travellers who moved on from massive Dale Farm site
Published 19/12/2012 | 09:12
A SECOND operation to evict travellers displaced by the clearance of Europe's largest illegal site at Dale Farm will be carried out.
Basildon Council members last night voted for "direct action" to remove travellers living on the roadside at Oak Lane, alongside Dale Farm in Essex.
The action will not be taken until a judicial review lodged by travellers over earlier enforcement notices is resolved.
Tony Ball, leader of the council, said: "Whilst I cannot comment directly on the committee decision, it is clearly in line with our determination to enforce and uphold the law but tempered with the need to make sensible and pragmatic decisions based on the situation.
"Nothing has changed in our attitude to dealing with illegal development or protecting the green belt, and we remain a local authority that will continue to deal with law breaking and serious breaches of planning control."
Bailiffs and police removed travellers living on Dale Farm, a six-acre former scrapyard, without permission in a €9m operation last October.
There were violent scenes as protesters and travellers resisted the clearance and chained themselves to structures behind a barricade.
Since then many of those who had lived on Dale Farm have moved to Oak Lane, a legal site, exceeding its authorised capacity.
Previously they have said they have nowhere else to go.
Mary Flynn, a former Dale Farm resident, said: "The way we're treated, it's like we're not human beings - we're seen as a problem that they need to get rid of.
"There are more travellers than there are sites, so where do they expect us to live? It's so hard to tell my children that we're never going to get to go home."
Members of the Traveller Solidarity movement said that 83 families were made homeless by the operation.
Mr Ball said: "Local residents expect us to be consistent and treat everyone the same, and that it is exactly what we are doing at Oak Lane."
Permission was recently granted for a new, smaller travellers site at nearby Gardiners Way.
It is thought some of the most needy families from Dale Farm could move there.
Mr Ball said it could take two years to develop the new site.