Tuesday 12 November 2019

Irish travellers threaten to move to supermarket car parks

The words 'our home' are daubed on a tire barricade at Dale Farm. Photo: Getty Images
A van daubed with a slogan sits behind barbed wire next to the barricade at Dale Farm travellers camp . Photo: Getty Images
Candy Sheridan, a representative for the Dale Farm travellers (R) walks with some other representatives from Dale Farm as they leave the High Court earlier this week. Photo: Getty Images

Brian Farmer and John Ashton

Hundreds of travellers occupying the UK's biggest illegal halting site would move to supermarket car parks if they are evicted from their Dale Farm residence, a High Court judge was told today.

A barrister representing travellers living at the Dale Farm site near Basildon, Essex, told Mr Justice Ouseley that an eviction would mean disruption for the residents.

Christopher Jacobs, for Dale Farm residents, told the judge: "Many of them would go to one or two supermarket car parks in the area with all the attendant disruption that would contain."

Travellers have taken legal action in an attempt to stop Basildon Council evicting them from Dale Farm.

They argue that eviction would be "disproportionate" because they would be left with nowhere to live.

The council has been battling for a decade to remove travellers from the Dale Farm site in Essex, which is in the green belt and thought to house around 400 people on about 50 pitches.

Leaders say allowing travellers to stay without planning permission would send the "wrong signal" and strike "to the very principles of the rule of law".

In written arguments handed to the judge, Mr Jacobs added: "This occupation (of supermarket car parks) will be neither suitable nor lawful and the children concerned will be without adequate facilities."

Mr Jacobs said "over 400 people, including over 100 children" would be left without "suitable accommodation" if the site was cleared.

Yesterday the judge warned the travellers not to expect to get what they want by breaking the law.

“You can't always get what you want... especially when it's breaking the law,” he said.

A ruling is expected next Tuesday.

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News