The residents of Dale Farm are living on land that they have bought. Travellers throughout the country were encouraged to buy land to live on after the requirement for local authorities to provide carvan parks was removed.
But cruelly when they did this voices were raised to ensure that planning permission was not granted. So generations, from babies to grannies, live ‘illegally’ on their own land with all the uncertainties and dangers that implies.
It is claimed that they are encroaching on green belt land. This might be what appears on maps. But the truth is that prior to the community buying and settling on this land it was a scrap yard! The local council and the objectors know this perfectly well.
Behind the smokescreen of planning rules and green belt land lies a blatant racism.
Basildon Council has not formally replied to the planning applications for alternative mobile-home parks put forward by the Gypsy Council – that could be provided on government agency land at a far lower cost than this act of ethnic-cleansing.
It is clear the Tories want Travellers out of Basildon district whatever the cost in human misery and tax-payers’ money. On the strength of dishonest arguments and bigotry, and despite pleas from the UN, Council of Europe and Amnesty International, the Tory leader of Basildon Borough Council trumpets the need to “Uphold the Rule of Law”.
He has committed £8 million pounds of council reserves to the bulldozing of the Dale Farm estate. Up to another £10 million could be spent by Essex police in assisting with the eviction. The Council has commissioned private baillifs Constant & Co to carry out the eviction, a company known for its brutal treatment of Traveller families during move-on operations around the country.
The residents of Dale Farm have asked supporters to establish a base, Camp Constant, to help stop the destruction of their homes.