Basildon Council concedes that full clearance of Dale Farm is illegal

Today sees the conclusion of one of the two legal processes challenging Basildon Council’s planned eviction of the Dale Farm community. The case, which halted eviction in the eleventh hour on Monday 19th September, has resulted in a series of concessions from Basildon Council that a number of structures cannot legally be removed from the land. The finalised details, confirmed in a hearing in the High Court today, show that Basildon Council cannot legally enforce a full clearance of Dale Farm.

Basildon Council has also been ordered to pay one third of the costs of the case to Dale Farm residents. Mr Justice Edwards Stuart added that it is important that the dignity of all concerned is respected in the event of an eviction.

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. This includes a number of plots which could still be used residentially. [1]

For a detailed map of what would remain after an eviction, see:

If the Dale Farm residents’ application for a judicial review into the legality of the entire eviction fails, Basildon Council must then decide whether to spend £22 million on a partial eviction. [2]

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 into a scrapyard again. It’s ridiculous.”

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. [3]

Cheap, peaceful solutions still remain for Basildon Council to resolve the situation. It was revealed in court last week that they have been offered free land and funding to provide alternative Traveller pitches to resettle Dale Farm residents [4], who have said all along they would gladly move as long as they had somewhere to go.

Dale Farm supporter, Lily Walker, said “Today’s outcome nullifies the greenbelt argument the council have been using – it is now clear that if the eviction goes ahead, Dale Farm will return to its former state as a scrapyard. We are calling on the Council to abandon an eviction which will come at great financial and human cost and instead engage the Dale Farm community in negotiations.”

Notes to the editor:

[1] Court order available to download here: DALE FARM –  order 3.10.11.

[2] The judgement is expected by Tuesday at noon. If the application to hear the judicial review is successful, eviction could be halted for many months.



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2 Responses to Basildon Council concedes that full clearance of Dale Farm is illegal

  1. twointoone says:

    The land was a scrap yard who would of thought the council would try to hide the fact they acted illegally by dumping clay and hardcore onto greenbelt land? The Travellers were aware that was the case and thus thought the council would only do that on brown field… hence they bought it as such…now the council might face legal action over not only dumping but covering up said dumping, not to mention where the money went for the cars stored there and for the illegal dumping…im betting Mr Balls and his motley crew are wishing they left sleeping travellers lie…for they have certainly opened up a caravan of worms they will have to answer to…the police might soon by knocking on retired and still active council officers and councillors doors…now who could of foretold that…

  2. Is this the “full detailed map”, or a drawing taken from the local primary school on “draw your house” day. Or is asking children in the local School near Dale Farm to draw their “house” now frowned upon as politically incorrect?

    The families moved in 10 years ago knowing they had no permission to do so, and now want to claim they are the victims and it is the council tearing the community apart. Im sorry, but these families should have had more sense than to take up residency where they knew it was illegal. If they are wanting to ensure their children have a settled upbringing, then they should not make such daft decisions when deciding where to live. They are responsible for putting their children in this position, nobody else.

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