Press release: Dale Farm protesters target Council offices, asking: “Where will we go?”

Press Release

Contact: Maz 07 517 516 943

Dale Farm Solidarity: 07 583 761 462

Dale Farm protesters target Council offices, asking: “Where will we go?”

Dale Farm supporters and residents are gathering outside Basildon Council on Thursday (8th September) to pose the question: “Where Will We Go?” They will gather at 1.00pm for a photocall to hand in a letter to the Council asking for help to identify a culturally appropriate and lawful place to go.

Residents are set to be evicted from their own land from the 19th September. Despite Basildon Council’s Assistant Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Councillor MacKenzie pledging publicly that all those in genuine need will be housed by the Council, just two flats and two bungalows have been offered to the over 90 families who will becomes homeless due to the forced eviction. The families, some spanning four generations, are asserting their right to culturally appropriate accommodation rather than bricks and mortar housing. Some residents have been told they will be accommodated in B&Bs for three nights and “then you’re on your own.”

Some of the elderly residents may be eligible for sheltered accomodation and beds in nursing homes, but insist they prefer to be cared for by their adult children, as is the norm within the community. They had expected to see out their days at Dale Farm and are traumatised at the idea of being separated from their loved ones.

“The Council has a huge waiting list and we don’t want to get in the way of those on the waiting list,” said Maria, one of the Travellers. “We need a site where we can park up and be together in our extended families. We don’t want the bricks and mortar- and even if we did, the Council could not cope.”

“We feel persecuted.” says Maria. “If we’re thrown out of our homes and our land, as the Council plans to do, we quite literally have nowhere to go. That’s why we are protesting at the Council today- to ask where they expect us to go.”

A supporter adds: “Our economy is in meltdown. Public services are being cut. It is impossible to house all these families on Basildon Council estates- there simply isn’t room. Neighbouring councils will be called upon to help – but they can’t cope either. The situation would be farcical if it weren’t so tragic.”

The Council has a duty of care to offer Travellers culturally appropriate accommodation, which means sites suitable for trailers and mobile homes. But despite efforts by the Travellers themselves and the Gypsy Council, no land has been made available as Basildon Council continues to turn down all submitted planning applications.

Contact: Maz 07 517 516 943

Dale Farm Solidarity: 07 583 761 462

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