Tony Ball: Community Wrecker of the Year Award Ceremony

7PM // Monday 27 February // Westminster City Hall

Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, has been nominated for the award of Council Leader of the Year by the Local Government Information Unit “in recognition of his role spearheading the eviction of Travellers from Dale Farm”. The award ceremony takes place on Monday 27 February at Westminster City Council.

For more info, see:
https://member.lgiu.org.uk/whatwedo/cllrawards/Pages/default.aspx.

http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/9509681.Tony_Ball_is_up_for_council_boss_of_year/

*

Not wanting Tony Ball to miss out on ALL of the recognition due to him, we will be presenting him with an alternative ‘Community Wrecker of the Year Award’.

In particular, the Dale Farm community would like to thank Tony Ball for his spectacular and unique achievements:

– CLARITY OF VISION: particularly his desire to deal with the problem that there are ‘too many Travellers in Essex’ [Tony Ball]

– OUTSTANDING COMMITMENT TO HIS ROLE: Tony Ball said he would resign if he did not evict Dale Farm – the eviction was about the continuation of his career and not the welfare of the community.

– EFFICIENCY SAVINGS: spending ‘only’ £7 million of public money on evicting the Dale Farm Travellers from the land that they own.

– HOUSING: making 83 families homeless, and refusing them to offer them alternative sites.

– PUTTING CHILDREN FIRST: protecting the interests of the first literate generation at Dale Farm by forcing them away from the local school.

– PROTECTING THE GREENBELT: Tony Ball transformed a beautiful home into a bombsite filled with sewage and old scrap.

– ACCOUNTABILITY: upholding the planning law by evicting Dale Farm and giving planning permission to a Dogs Home two months later in the same area of ‘protected greenbelt’.

– STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH COMMUNITY GROUPS: ‘allowing’ the displaced Dale Farm residents to stay on the private road leading to their former home in unsanitary and cramped condition, cutting the electricity supply.

*

You are cordially invited to join us outside Westminster City Hall, for the presentation of the award, Tony Ball’s acceptance speech and a rowdy reception.

Join us to let Tony Ball know what we think of his ‘achievements’ at Dale Farm.

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Update from Traveller Solidarity Network

For ongoing updates see the Traveller Solidarity Network website and sign up to receive updates here.

1) TSN national meeting and Dale Farm debrief feb 25th & 26th, Cambridge
2) London TSN Meeting 19th Feb
3) 27th Feb, 7pm – Tony Ball: Community Wrecker of the Year Award
4) 8th April – Roma Nation Day Action planning
5) 1st-29th March – TSN national info-tour
6) Pennies from heaven: Dale Farm needs donations for ongoing support

1) TSN NATIONAL MEETING AND DALE FARM DEBRIEF FEB 25TH & 26TH, CAMBRIDGE, UK

Details:
Saturday February 25th: Traveller Solidarity National Meeting 10am to 5pm,
followed by after party. All welcome.
Sunday February 26th: Dale Farm Activist’s debrief 11am to 4 pm. For those who participated in the resistance at Dale Farm.

Sleeping space, travel pool to offset those coming from afar, and children’s creche all available.

We will discuss ongoing support for Dale Farm residents, and Smithy Fen and Meriden communities under threat, planning for Roma Nation Day (see below) and more. The internal/process group is putting together an agenda, if you have any proposals please email them at tsn-internal@noflag.org.uk . There is to be a social/party on Saturday evening with food. Please donate on the night if you can. Email sam@ash.coop if you need space to sleep or childcare as early as possible.

Saturday’s meeting will be at
Bharat Bhavan, [Bharat Way,] Mill Road (/bridge), Cambridge, CB1 2AZ. Map
at http://goo.gl/aL7yt
Sunday’s meeting will be at The Humanitarian Centre, Fenner’s, Gresham Rd,
Cambridge CB1 2ES http://goo.gl/00nYW

For more information, email sam [at] ash.coop

2) LONDON TSN MEETING, SUNDAY 19TH FEB
1PM-3PM, Freedom bookshop, Whitechapel.
We will be planning work to support Roma communities in east London facing
discrimination, as well as the Tony Ball protest (below) and more.

3) 27TH FEB, 7PM – TONY BALL: COMMUNITY WRECKER OF THE YEAR AWARD.
Westminster City Council

Facebook Event

Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, has been nominated for the award of Council Leader of the Year by the Local Government Information Unit “in recognition of his role spearheading the eviction of Travellers from Dale Farm”. The award ceremony takes place on Monday 27 February at Westminster City Council.

You are cordially invited to join us outside Westminster City Hall for the presentation of the award, Tony Ball’s acceptance speech and a rowdy reception. Join us to let Tony Ball know what we think of his ‘achievements’ at Dale Farm.

For more info, see:
https://member.lgiu.org.uk/whatwedo/cllrawards/Pages/default.aspx.
http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/9509681.Tony_Ball_is_up_for_council_boss_of_year/

4) 8TH APRIL ROMA NATION DAY ACTION PLANNING

TSN is involved in planning an international day of co-ordinated local actions to counter the tide of discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Travellers.

Start planning local actions and spread the word to friends around the world. The info tour (see below) will be an opportunity to get together and start planning! More details of protest in London to be announced soon. For more info contact travellersolidarity [at] riseup.net

Planning meeting in London 12 noon on Wednesday 22 Feb
OSI Roma Early Childhood Programme
4th Flr, Cambridge House
100 Cambridge Avenue, London W6 OLE

5) TSN INFO TOUR, 1ST – 29TH MARCH
The Traveller Solidarity Network is touring the country throughout the month of March to build links between local activists and Traveller sites. A short film of interviews which discusses current Gypsy and Traveller struggles will be shown. The talks aim to develop an understanding of different forms of oppression that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities experience, in areas such as day to day discrimination, housing law, land rights and evictions.

Subjects to discuss will include ways forward after Dale Farm for the new network resisting the oppression of Travellers, and strategies for local support for GRT communities facing eviction and prejudice in the area. We hope to include voices from a range of established GRT organisations, and groups currently engaged in a wide range of related struggles, and we are keen to collaborate with local groups in organising these meetings.

For more information or to find out about nearby meetings contact
tsn-info [at] noflag.org.uk . Look on the Traveller Solidarity facebook to find the details of all the meetings and invite your friends.

Tour dates:
LONDON / 1ST MARCH / TBC
KENT / 2ND MARCH / Friends Meeting House, 6 The Friars (next to the Marlowe Theatre) Canterbury
OXFORD / 3RD MARCH / OXFORD RADICAL FORUM, Wadham College, Okinaga Room, 12 noon
BRIGHTON / 4TH MARCH / THE COWLEY CLUB 5-7 PM
SOUTHAMPTON / 5TH MARCH / 38 Onslow Rd, SO14 0JG, 6.30pm, with food halfway and then music til 11.
CORNWALL / 6TH MARCH / TBC
BRISTOL / 7TH MARCH / St Nicholas of Tolentino Church Lawford’s Gate BS5 0RE
CARDIFF / 8TH MARCH / CATHAYS COMMUNITY AND YOUTH CENTRE 6PM
BIRMINGHAM / 11TH MARCH / TBC
LIVERPOOL / 12TH MARCH / TBC
MANCHESTER / 13TH MARCH / STUDENT UNION COUNCIL CHAMBER 6PM
EDINBURGH / 14TH MARCH / St Augustine’s Church, George IV Bridge
GLASGOW / 15TH MARCH / KINNING PARK COMPLEX, 43 CORNWALL STREET 6.30 PM
NEWCASTLE / 16TH MARCH / TBC
YORK / 17TH MARCH / DE GREY ROOMS 3-5 PM
SHEFFIELD / 19TH MARCH / THE BLACK ROSE CENTRE, 7PM
BRADFORD / 20TH MARCH / 1 In 12 Club. 21-23 Albion Street BD1 2LY, 7pm
NOTTINGHAM / 21ST MARCH / TBC
COLCHESTER / 22ND MARCH / FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE, 6 CHURCH STREET CO1 1NF, 7.30PM
NORWICH / 23RD MARCH / FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE, UPPER GOAT LANE, 6.30PM
CAMBRIDGE / 25TH MARCH / TBC
BEDFORD / 26TH MARCH / TBC
LUTON / 27TH MARCH / TBC
ST ALBANS / 28TH MARCH / TBC
HARLOW / 29TH MARCH / St Paul’s church, College Sq Harlow CM20 1LP. 7.30pm

6) DALE FARM: PENNIES FROM HEAVEN?

Appeal for funds to cover new planning appeals and dig away bunding barriers

Basildon Borough Council has £20m to draw in pursuing its policy of ethnic-cleansing aimed at driving Travellers out of the district. Much of it was spent on the violent eviction last October, backed at Westminster by the pro-bankers coalition.

In response supporters raised £3,600 last year, which was divided between Camp Constant and the Dale Farm Housing Association. Now fresh funds are needed to help pay for the work of restoring Dale Farm. Immediate needs include fresh planning appeal fees and the hiring of diggers to remove bunding that is preventing re-occupation of legal plots.

Can you help? Donate now via paypal or see dalefarm.wordpress.com/donate

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DALE FARM: PENNIES FROM HEAVEN?

Appeal for funds to cover new planning appeals and dig away bunding barriers

Basildon Borough Council has £20m to draw in pursuing its policy of ethnic-cleansing aimed at driving Travellers out of the district. Much of it was spent on the violent eviction last October, backed at Westminster by the pro-bankers coalition.

In response supporters raised £3,600 last year, which was divided between Camp Constant and the Dale Farm Housing Association.

Now fresh funds are needed to help pay for the work of restoring Dale Farm. Immediate needs include fresh planning appeal fees and the hiring of diggers to remove bunding that is preventing re-occupation of legal plots.

Can you help?

Donate through Paypal

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Dale Farm Supporters condemn ruling allowing Essex police to seize journalists’ footage for ‘intelligence’.

There has been strong condemnation by supporters of Dale Farm residents of a ruling to force Sky, ITN, BBC and other freelance journalists to hand over their footage of the Dale Farm eviction. The journalists had argued in court that it put them in the position of evidence gatherers for the state.

Ali Saunders, a Dale Farm supporter, said “It is shameful that rather than confronting the brutality and racism of Basildon Council’s eviction of Dale Farm the police is criminalising protest and using the media as an extension of police “intelligence” gathering. Families are still struggling to live on the side of the road at Dale Farm- Basildon Council and the Government is proving yet again that it doesn’t care about Travellers in the UK.”

Saunders continued, “The biggest crime that happened at Dale Farm is being ignored here. Standing up to the injustice of the eviction was the right thing to do…”

For Comment:
07583761462
@travellersol
tsn-media@noflag.org.uk

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Dale Farm Supporters condemn ruling allowing Essex police to seize journalists’ footage for ‘intelligence’.

There has been strong condemnation by supporters of Dale Farm residents of a ruling to force Sky, ITN, BBC and other freelance journalists to hand over their footage of the Dale Farm eviction. The journalists had argued in court that it put them in the position of evidence gatherers for the state.

Ali Saunders, a Dale Farm supporter, said “It is shameful that rather than confronting the brutality and racism of Basildon Council’s eviction of Dale Farm the police is criminalising protest and using the media as an extension of police “intelligence” gathering. Families are still struggling to live on the side of the road at Dale Farm- Basildon Council and the Government is proving yet again that it doesn’t care about Travellers in the UK.”

Saunders continued, “The biggest crime that happened at Dale Farm is being ignored here. Standing up to the injustice of the eviction was the right thing to do…”

For Comment:
07583761462
@travellersol
tsn-media@noflag.org.uk

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Dale Farm Legal Observers – Training Coming Soon

We urgently need a team of legal observers to be ready to go out to Dale Farm when the next wave of evictions begin.  Basildon Council has been taking steps to move those parked on the road and pitched on legal yards and we expect a wave of actions shortly.

Don’t hold back if you haven’t done legal observing before; we will be running a training session, probably in London, in the next couple of weeks.  This workshop is also open to those who have trained in the past but would like a refresher.  Mail dalefarmbackoffice(at)riseup.net to offer your help and let us know if you have experience and if you would like to attend a training session.

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TSN Welcomes Supporter’s Clearance and Warns Against ‘Campaign of Intimidation’ by Essex Police

The Traveller Solidarity Network (TSN) welcomes today’s news that a supporter of the families at Dale Farm who was present at the forced eviction has been cleared of any wrongdoing by Southend Magistrates’ Court.

The supporter had been arrrested and taken to court on the basis that she had concealed her identity. We fully support the defense’s lawyer Raj Chada’s accusation that Essex police officers have orchestrated a “campaign of intimidation” against those who stood up for the rights of Dale Farm families.

A member of the Traveller Solidarity Network, Paul Lethbridge, commented that ‘in the coming weeks this “campaign of intimidation” will intensify with many more court dates for supporters coming up based on trumped-up charges. All of the network stand together in saying that we are proud of what we have done and continue to do in standing up the rights of Travellers. The heavy-handed response of the government and the police will not prevent us from continuing our work.’

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Support the Dale Farm Planning Appeal – Letter writing campaign Mary Flynn Appeal

Mary Flynn is an Irish Traveller from Dale Farm who is appealing the
refusal of planning permission for her plot. Mary’s appeal would be helped
by supporters and residents of Dale Farm sending letters supporting her
appeal. So TSN is calling for supporters to write letters.

In your letter you can set out your personal opinions about the need for
planning permission to be granted. There’s a number of planning issues
below which you could use to support your case, as well as an outline of
the special considerations that should be given to the case for human
rights and humanitarian reasons. Below is a bit of formal wording to help
you draft you letter.

=========

Information which should go in your letter

Plot 45, Dale Farm
APP/V1505/A/11/2163607 Dale Farm

The retention of a change in use of the land to a residential Gypsy /
Traveller caravan site including the retention of hard standings, fences,
and the siting of a portable structure on the land to be used as a
utility facility.

I wish to support the appeal of the Dale Farm Residents Association in
relation to the above.

I am < personal circumstances stuff… include full name and address >

I am a statutory party.. < if you were staying at Dale Farm between
August and September 2011 then you can claim this status (say why)
otherwise delete>

<your arguments on why the appeal should be allowed by the Secretary of
State>

I authorise Grattan Puxon, Secretary of Dale Farm Resident’s Association,
to represent my interests at the inquiry.

Yours faithfully,

<name>
<date>

===

send your letter by email to:

appeals@basildon.gov.uk, planning@basildon.gov.uk,
tony.ball@members.basildon.gov.uk, enquiries@pins.gsi.gov.uk
and bcc: ycx26@dial.pipex.com, dalefarmbackoffice@riseup.net (so that we
can track
responses.)

=====

Information about the appeal:

The planning application was submitted in August 2011, and was considered
by The Development Control and Traffic Management Committee on 18th
October 2011. A decision notice was issued on 19th October 2011 refusing
permission.

===

Reasons for refusal of planning permission:

Guidance in national planning policy PPG2 – allows for exception to be
made where it can be shown there are very special circumstances. The
council does not allow that the personal circumstances of the applicant
are sufficient to justify this. They refer to the previous decisions of
the Secretary of State.

In addition they refer to their own policy BAS BE12 which prohibits
development “materially harmful to the character of the surrounding area
which has a dominating appearance within the landscape and creates
traffic congestion impinging on highway safety” and concludes that this
application be refused because of harm to the visual amenity of the area
and openness of the greenbelt.

===

Arguments which could be used against these points:

1) That the decision of the Development Control and Traffic Management
Committee on about 18th October 2011 was not correctly informed:

a) they were not told that the Council had been found by the High Court
to have overenforced notices and had to pay costs because of this

b) they were not told that the Council intended to overenforce more
notices in the eviction the next day – some of which were issued without
authority

c) they were not told that the openness of the greenbelt would be
compromised by the Council’s bunding of the site after the eviction

d) the previous decision of the Secretary of State should not be taken
into account because this was not informed by the previous points

e) and that both the Development Control and Traffic Management Committee
and the Secretary of State were mislead by the council who said that there
had been many road traffic accidents in the area when in fact the police
have confirmed that from 01 June 2000 to date there has been only one
recorded accident. The amount of traffic likely to be generated by Mrs
Flynn and her family amounts at most to two or three vehicles.

2) That the Council used its own planning regulations inappropriately
and inconsistently

a) the Council wrongly stated that the reason for its decision was
preserving the openness of the greenbelt; this was a former scrapyard and
has not in the past 50 years been a greenfield site and the actions of
the council in constructing bunding after the eviction causes more loss
of visual amenity than the traveller site ever did.

b) the Council needed planning permission to construct these bunds on
greenbelt land but failed to apply for it

c) the Council has made exceptions to development on greenbelt land in the
area in other recent cases and should do so in this case. (Eg: On 29th
November 2011 the Development Control & Traffic Management Committee
granted conditional planning permission to 11/00433/Full for a Dog
Re-homing Centre with associated hardstanding and 2 staff houses to be
developed on 13 acres of Green Belt land in Wickford.)

3) That there are special circumstances which should be given more
weight in considering this appeal:

a) The material harm caused to Mrs. Flynn and her family by evicting them
on to the road would be disproportionate. Mrs. Flynn is a widow and does
not drive. Her grandchildren still suffer nightmares since the eviction
and she is in ill-health. She uses a nebuliser for breathing
difficulties. She needs care from her community which is supplied by
friends and family at dale farm. It is the duty of the council to
protect these vulnerable people. They are Basildon residents and many of
the children were born in the area.

b) There is a need for about 150 additional pitches in the area. The
Council has admitted that there is a need for more legal pitches in the
area but has failed to provide these. In addition, it had rejected
guidance by the Secretary of State, including a statement from Deputy
Prime Minister John Prescott that a site at Terminus Road, Pitsea, would
be suitable. This site was later the subject of a planning application by
the DFHA, rejected by the Council. Land in Laindon offered by the Homes
and Communities Agency (along with a budget for its development) was also
turned down by the Council. The Council have said that a Gypsy and
Traveller site Development Plan Document will be published by winter 2014
– this is far too late given the pressing need of many homeless families
of travellers in the area.

c) Those that have applied to the Council for help with homelessness have
been offered either nothing at all or brick and mortar accommodation.
This is against all current advice that this is an inappropriate offer
for Gypsy and Traveller families. (The concept of ‘cultural aversion to
conventional housing’ first appeared in a planning case, Clarke v
Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions in 2003
– Burton J concluded that, if a cultural aversion to conventional housing
was established, such an offer would be unsuitable ‘just as would be the
offer of a rat-infested barn’.)

d) Gypsies and Travellers are believed to experience the worst health and
education status of any disadvantaged group in England. The lack of sites
restricts access to many health, education and welfare services. This not
only affects their general well-being, but means that many Gypsies and
Travellers are not sufficiently integrated into settled communities,
helping to further reinforce stereotypical views that these groups
‘don’t fit in’. The life expectancy of a traveller is 12 years less than
a person from the settled community. Child mortality rates are almost
three times higher amongst the travelling community.

e) The Council has a duty to protect the human rights of travellers who
are a recognised ethnic minority. The rights of children (including Mrs.
Flynn’s grandchildren) should carry primary weight in any decision
according to the guidance of both the UN and The European Union.
(Article 24 of the European Union’s charter of Fundamental Rights: IN ALL
ACTIONS RELATING TO CHILDREN, WHETHER BY PUBLIC AUTHORITIES OR PRIVATE
INSTITUTIONS, THE CHILD’S BEST INTERESTS MUST BE A PRIMARY
CONSIDERATION)

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Dale Farm supporters reject police cautions for obstruction

Today (20 December 2011) and yesterday, over thirty Dale Farm supporters who were arrested during the Dale Farm eviction rejected police cautions for obstruction of a bailiff under the Town and Country Planning Act. [1] They now face a court hearing in the new year

A number of the supporters issued a joint statement:

“We stand by our decision to attempt to prevent the brutal forced eviction that took place. It has left Dale Farm a wasteland, with 83 families homeless and living in inhumane conditions. The cynical use of greenbelt planning laws does not change the fact that this was a racially motivated eviction by Basildon Council. We believe that the eviction was unjust and therefore our actions were justified; we cannot accept ‘guilt’ for standing side by side with the Dale Farm community.” [2]

Mary O’Brian, a member of the Dale Farm community, said “Nobody has ever stood up in history for Travelling people. And Dale Farm comes along, and we had people, really good settled people, that stood up for us. I’ll never forget that, and my people will never forget that. We lost our homes, but it made history.”

Notes to the editor:

[1] Dale Farm was subject to a huge policing operation on 19 October 2011. Several Travellers and their supporters were injured and hospitalised due to police brutality.

[2] The Dale Farm community are now largely living on the private road leading to the evicted site, in crowded and unsanitary conditions. A forced clearance of the road by Basildon Council is feared in the new year. Basildon Council is not offering any culturally appropriate alternative housing, and therefore families will be forced to live in lay-bys and car parks.


Media enquiries: 07040900905, 07583761462
Twitter: @travellersol
http://travellersolidarity.org/
Please email tsn-media@noflag.org.uk to be added to our press list

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Dale Farm & Traveller Solidarity Network Benefit Party!

This Saturday, December 10th, come to the Traveller Solidarity all-nighter warehouse party of bands, circus acts, DJs, comedy, spoken word and politics! The benefit will take place in South London (exact place to be found out via the party line 07530910145 which will be active from 6pm the day itself) from 8pm till 8am the following morning.  The entrance will cost you £7/Donation.

The Traveller Solidarity Network has evolved from the group supporting Dale Farm, and is uniting with Travellers to resist evictions around the country, using direct action and radical politcs. We don´t have 18 million pounds, and every now and then we have to buy things. Come and show your support for this historically ignored antifascist struggle.

Check out the Facebook event and our poster for more info.

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