Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dale Farm: Barricades down but no access for bailiffs

Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy said she would fight on "to the bitter end"

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Barricades to keep out bailiffs at the UK's largest illegal traveller site are coming down in line with a court order.
Residents of Dale Farm in Essex won an injunction preventing the clearance of 51 unauthorised plots until Friday.
The order required Basildon Council to give a plot-by-plot breakdown of how it planned to clear plots and ordered residents to allow access to the site.
The council said schedules were issued on Tuesday by email and work began on the barricades early on Wednesday.
At a meeting on Tuesday night travellers and their supporters have agreed to work together to move barricades.
Some families who had moved trailers to the legal part of the site are now bringing them back.
Basildon Council leader Tony Ball says he is "disappointed and frustrated"
However, the travellers said any attempted entry by bailiffs would be met by opposition.
Resident Michelle McCarthy said: "With this court ruling we're finally hopeful that common sense will prevail, so we're moving our caravans back into Dale Farm.
"We're reasonable people and we urge the council to find a way that we can continue to live in peace as community.
"We're all working together to open the gates, and we're so grateful to our friends and supporters for helping us."
Conservative-run Basildon Council has said that if it succeeds in overturning the injunction at a court hearing on Friday, action to clear the site could restart within hours.
In that case, the travellers would also be liable for all costs incurred by the delay.
Police and the local council have set a budget for the clearance of the site at £18m.
Hannah Roberts, from campaign group Dale Farm Solidarity, said: "In their bloody-minded over-zealousness, the council are paying £1.2m a day for police to sit in hotel rooms and drink coffee when they could be funding schools and hospitals and building their community."
Satellite images of Dale Farm in 1999 and now Travellers bought the scrapyard several years ago, but the council never gave planning permission for caravan plots on the extended site. 
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