Residents are voicing a plea for resolution, and have asked Basildon Counci to negotiate with them in order to find a way to avoid a forced eviction. Basildon Council have yet to begin the eviction that residents have been expecting from 8am this morning. Over the past several years, the Dale Farm community have been attempting to find a resolution to avoid a forced eviction through proposing alternative sites and through legal processes.
Local Bishops as well as the United Nations have offered to mediate between the Dale Farm community and the Council. However, recently the Foreign Office refused the request of the European Represenatve of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jan Jarab, to visit Dale Farm and attempt to conduct negotiatons. (Emails available as evidence up request).
The offer of negotiations comes at a time when Basildon Council is being criticised for not maintaining open communication with the residents. The residents have been increasingly distressed at the lack of information about what time the eviction is due to start. The mixed messages continue as the Council discusses with the press that they were considering negotiations while saying the eviction is going ahead.
The community living on the former scrapyard at Dale Farm are in the Royal Courts of Justice at 11.30 today. While the chances of success are limited, the case shows that Basildon Council’s statements that all avenues to solve the problem are exhausted are incorrect.
Several Dale Farm residents also have planning permission applictions lodged with Basildon Council pending decision in October.
Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy told the Today Program this morning, “We will give Basildon Council our land if they build us a site… The law keeps us breaking the law.” Basildon Council leader Tony Ball repsonded, “The Council is offering suitable accommodation’ to Dale Farm residents.” and and that “all avenues” for alternatives had been “exhausted”.
Letters from the Homes & Communities Agency to Richard Howitt MEP show that they offered land and funds to allow Dale Farm residents to move to a legal site. (Letters available on request). Basildon Council deemed relocation in the Basildon area unacceptable and unilaterally left the multi-agency ‘Altenative Sites Working Group’ in October 2010. Immediately after leaving the group they employed notorious anti-Traveller baliffs Constant & Co to undertake the eviction.
Since then Tony Ball has been more interested in courting the media than honestly communicating with Dale Farm residents. They get their information from the press, and not Basildon Council.