Dale Farm cleared as council moves off site
An illegal Travellers’ site which was the subject of a controversial legal wrangle has been cleared by the council.
Dale Farm in Basildon, Essex, has had all 51 plots cleared of caravans, mobile homes, portable structures and hard standing.
Contractors and the council have now moved off the site, which was formerly home to hundreds of Travellers.
Last month, the council won the right to evict people from illegal pitches and a series of violent clashes erupted as bailiffs and police forced their way through barricades.
Tony Ball, leader of the council, said: ‘I am pleased that the work to clear Dale Farm has been completed so quickly and in a dignified and safe manner.
‘I would like to thank our officers, contractors and partners for the professionalism with which they have carried out what was a difficult task.
‘I would also like to thank the residents of Crays Hill for their patience during this operation, particularly those living closer to the site.
‘However, I would urge caution and remind residents that there are still issues to be resolved.
‘This is not the end of the project for the council, and we have a number of outstanding issues to work through, including seeking recovery of costs for the delay caused by the injunction and the overall costs of the operation.
‘This is a complicated and lengthy process, but one that we are committed to.
‘We are also committed to restoring Dale Farm to a site in keeping with its green belt status, and would remind people that the bunding in place is only a temporary measure.
‘Now that the site clearance has been completed we will turn our attention to any remaining breaches of planning regulations on the site and also any new breaches at the authorised Oak Lane site.
‘I would now urge travelling communities to engage with local their authorities across the country.
‘They must seek planning permission before any more development of sites take place and this is regardless to the fact that they may own the land.
‘Travellers must comply with the law in the same way as everyone else. Nobody wants to see another Dale Farm.’