New documents reveal Basildon Council’s planning double standards

Dale Farm Scrapyard

Aerial photo of Dale Farm when it was a scrapyard in 1992. The right half with all the cars doesn't have planning permission. The left greener side does have planning permission. A high resolution 94M version is available at . Information at

Planning documents obtained for the address nearest to Dale Farm owned by a member of the ‘settled’ community reveal that it was built as an “unlawful development” and then given retrospective planning permission.  Additionally, Basildon Council served Enforcement notices on the owners of the property but never took action to put them into effect.(1)
The documents reveal that Tony Ball’s often-repeated claims regarding Travellers at Dale Farm that “[t]hey are being treated exactly the same way as any other citizen,” is incorrect. (2)
In an ironic twist, the property known as Windyridge, is currently owned by the prominent anti-traveller activist Len Gridley. His father owned the land and illegally developed it, while according to the Council documents Len lived in an illegal mobile home on the site (3).
Steve Dixby who rented a workshop next door and helped build the illegal dwelling said, “When I moved into them workshops there wasn’t a building there…there was nothing but a concrete slab on the land with a tarpaulin over it. I helped the owner put down some bricks and he built a tin roof building.”

He continued: “That place got built in the 80s. There were no buildings in that field before then, just a slab – that was Windy Ridge. There was no planning permission. They were all chancers buying greenbelt land on the cheap and hoping to get away with building on it. Then when someone else tries to do what they done, like with the Travellers, they don’t want it to happen and they make a fuss. But they were all chancers.” (4)

Subsequently, Len Gridley successfully applied for planning permission to extend his illegally constructed dwelling, despite the ongoing enforcement notices against the caravans and mobile homes not having been complied with. In 2002 these caravans were refused planning permission but remain there today (5)

Hannah Roberts from Dale Farm Solidarity said, “Tony Ball is backed into a corner by the revelations of the council’s double standard in dealing with breaches of planning regulation from the settled and Traveller communities. The government justifies making 400 people homeless by saying that rules must apply to everyone. It’s not true. And they never mention that 90% of Traveller planning applications are rejected, as opposed to only 20% overall. This eviction must be called off.”
(1)   All documents on our website   Unlawful quote is from para 15. Pictures of the caravan available on request. Full address is Windyridge, Oak Road, Crays Hill, CM11 2LY.
(3)    Para 21 of document.
(4)   Mr Dixby is available to talk to the press on request.

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7 Responses to New documents reveal Basildon Council’s planning double standards

  1. Pingback: Planning, Ethnic Cleansing and Dale Farm |

  2. twointoone says:

    Gridley is a hypocrite of the highest order and i hope someone decides to force the council to take action against him or there is some law that can be used to remove him from the real greenbelt he built on..

  3. two quetions, can you be evicted of your own land ? i know if you build without permission you will be told to take it down. why was the travellers sold this land? i’m sure they bought it with a view to build and those views where made clear on purchase. david cameron is backing basildon council on this issue’ i would have thought with the lack of social housing in england this initiative for people to help them selves build a community and houses was right up his street taking the initative to kick start the.BIG SOCIETY!. i fear mr cameron is like the most of britian he dosen’t belive a word he says,

  4. Just to be clear: irrespective of the planning decisions in the 1980s, is Mr Gridley still in breach in relation to the 2002 refusal of planning permission? Has the council taken any enforcement action in relation to this?

  5. This doesn’t stand up at all.

    The case you present above went through the legal planning appeal process and succeeded, while the illegal half of Dale Farm was taken through the planning appeal process on a *lot* of occasions and lost.

    I make it – via the Planning Portal – that Mr Sheridan and others have made a whole series of planning appeals, and not succeeded.

    Therefore the same law *has* been applied.

    On the detail, you claim that the Council continued not to enforce “Enforcement Notices”.

    Your document says that 2 out of 3 were quashed by a Planning Appeal, and found to be baseless. That is notices 2 and 3. These could not be enforced, as they were not valid.

    Notice 1 was eviscerated. The Council were found to have no basis for enforcement for removal of the dwlinghouse, therefore it remained. This could not be enforced, as it was not valid.

    The only point on which the Council succeeded was that the dwellnghouse at Windy Ridge did not enjoy permitted development rights to extend.

    In the case of the threatened half of Dale Farm, legal process ad infinitum has demonstrated that the Council *do* have a right to enforce.


  6. ef899 says:

    Good luck for tomorrow.

  7. Pingback: New documents reveal Basildon Council’s planning double standards | Dale Farm Travellers | WorldWright's …

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