Basildon to move on former Dale Farm Travellers
Basildon Council has served a planning enforcement notice on caravans in the road leading to the former location of the UK’s largest Travellers’ site.
There were violent clashes between riot police and bailiffs at Dale Farm in October last year when Basildon Council started evictions on the site after the Travellers lost the right to appeal against a High Court ruling.
The council managed to clear the site by November but some of the Travellers parked illegally in Oak Lane, the roadside track leading to the Dale Farm site.
It served planning contravention notices on the occupiers of the 19 caravans in February giving 21 days to respond to the notices and leave the area.
The caravans did not move and yesterday the council served planning enforcement notices giving them until 29 August to appeal. If they do not appeal and do not comply within a month of that date the council says it will take ‘appropriate action’.
But Traveller groups say the families parked in the road have nowhere to go due to lack of plots in the area, and since October have had to live in cramped conditions without running water, regular electricity and sewerage problems.
Mary Sheridan, a mother living in Oak Lane, said: ‘The council and the government still will not listen, we have nowhere else to go. We want a safe place to live where our kids can go to school, is that too much ask?’
Jo McGuire, Dale Farm supporter and member of the Traveller Solidarity Network, said: ‘These families have nowhere else to go because the council have failed to authorise any pitches in the area. The council is choosing to evict before new planning applications have been considered.’
Traveller support group Traveller Solidarity Network, which has supported Dale families over recent years, will organise a demonstration on the anniversary of last year’s eviction on 19 October this year.
Tony Ball, leader of the Basildon Council, said: ‘People know that Basildon Council is committed to upholding the law and will go through the relevant processes to ensure compliance with the law.
‘I still find it immensely frustrating that having cleared the illegal site last year, what appears to be a small minority of the original residents are persisting with this dangerous and disruptive behaviour.’
He also said the council believed many of the Travellers’ in the area were not the original occupiers of Dale Farm.