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VIDEO: Irish Travellers: two thirds of British public support Council plans for eviction


The gateway at Dale Farm

The gateway at Dale Farm

The gateway at Dale Farm

TWO thirds of the British public support Basildon Council's plans to evict residents from the UK's largest illegal travellers' site, according to a YouGov poll.

Basildon Council is attempting to clear 51 illegal plots from Dale Farm in Essex which is home to about 400 travellers.

The High Court could rule on how much of the clearance will be allowed to go ahead tomorrow.

The survey found that 66pc of the public back the eviction bid.

A further 17pc said the council's actions were wrong while the same proportion said they did not know.

Older people are more likely to support the eviction, with 74pc of those over 60 agreeing, compared to 59pc of those aged 18 to 24.

The planned clearance was due to begin last week but was halted following a High Court injunction while legal appeals are heard.

It follows a decade-long row over unauthorised plots on the six-acre site.

Essex Police today confirmed that two men, aged 22 and 29, of no fixed address, have been charged with using threatening words or behaviour to cause alarm or distress.

The charges follow at protest at Basildon Council's offices yesterday during which two people scaled the building and hung a banner calling on the council leader to resign.

The men will appear at Basildon Magistrates Court on October 6.

Meanwhile, the travellers have applied to English Heritage to gain official protection status for the scaffolding gateway at the entrance to the site.

The gateway, adorned with posters and banners, has become an "emblem of the struggle for travellers' rights", according to the applicants.

The structure has been in place at the former scrapyard for five years and acts as part of the defence against bailiffs, a Dale Farm Solidarity spokesman said.

Resident Kathleen McCarthy said: "We're here to fight for our rights to a normal family life, for our children to get an education and for us to have security for our homes.

"The tower is all that stands between ourselves and the bailiffs. As long as it remains standing, we know that there are people outside our community who still care about our rights."

The English Heritage website says that it designates the status to "protect and celebrate England's historic buildings, monuments, parks, gardens, battlefields and wreck sites, by highlighting their special interest in a national context."