What will Dale Farm look like if it is evicted?

Basildon Council to concede Dale Farm eviction will be partial

A fortnight after the unexpected reprieve of the Dale Farm community in the fight to save their homes from a forced eviction, the High Court will deliver two key judgements on the future of Dale Farm.

The first, expected on Monday, will determine the extent to which Basildon Council can implement a full eviction at Dale Farm. The second, expected by Tuesday at noon, will decide whether a judicial review questioning the legality of the entire eviction will be heard.

The former challenges Basildon Council’s right to a total clearance of Dale Farm. The hearing in front of the High Court may even be cancelled as Basildon Council is likely to concede that all of the fences, walls, and walkways along with certain caravans, buildings and concrete, cannot legally be removed in the eviction – either because the structures pre-date the families’ purchase of Dale Farm, or because they were not covered by the Council’s enforcement notices. The details of this will be confirmed on Monday.

Basildon Council must then decide whether to spend £18 million on a partial eviction, given that cheap, peaceful solutions remain.  They have been offered free land and funding to provide alternative Traveller pitches to resettle Dale Farm residents [1], who have said all along they would gladly move as long as they had somewhere to go.

Dale Farm resident, Kathleen McCarthy, said “This will leave Dale Farm as a patchwork of concrete and fences, not the greenbelt the Council are claiming it will be. Where are we supposed to go? They are separating families and ruining so many lives here, and for what? To turn Dale Farm back into a scrapyard.

Mr Justice Ouseley, who is currently hearing the Dale Farm application for a judicial review in the High Court, ordered the eviction of the Hovefields Traveller site, also in Basildon, in September 2010 on the basis that it was greenbelt land. The site has since become a rubbish dump. [2]

Concern has also been expressed about what will happen to the residents of Dale Farm after an eviction. Many of the residents are elderly and in ill-health, relying upon their neighbours and extended family to care for them. Others are families with young children, who may end up living by the roadside if evicted. One of the residents gave birth to a baby boy last week – he faces an uncertain future. All of the Dale Farm residents have applied for homeless status from the Council in anticipation of being evicted from their homes.

The Dale Farm community is likely to face hostility elsewhere. A leaked email circulated to all Service and Executive Directors within a nearby council in anticipation of the eviction has stated “Encourage your staff to act as the Council’s eyes and ears for any suspicious activity over the coming weeks”. [3] Recent reports also suggest Dale Farm residents could end up in parking lots.

Dale Farm supporter, Ali Saunders, said “This is a lose lose situation – the Dale Farm residents will be made homeless, taxpayers’ money will be further wasted and the Council will create a scrapyard out of a community. It’s time for the Council to return to negotiations.”

The proceedings for the judicial reviews will continue from Monday at 2.15 pm in Court Room 3.
[1] https://dalefarm.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/110831-richard-howitt-mep-3.pdfhttps://dalefarm.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/council-claims-newts-stand-in-the-way-of-dale-farm-solution/

[2] http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16076105

[3] Full text of email available upon request.


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