Basildon council’s case for evicting Travellers from Dale Farm in Essex is rapidly falling apart—but that doesn’t mean the threat of eviction is lifted.
Judge Ouseley was set to rule on Wednesday of this week over whether to allow judicial reviews that challenge the evictions in London’s high court.
If any of the judicial reviews goes ahead, eviction could be delayed for months. But if they don’t, an eviction could begin immediately.
Basildon council claims it is evicting Travellers because it wants to “restore” their land to green belt. But the land was a scrapyard when the Travellers bought it.
Ray Bocking is the scrap metal dealer who sold the land to Travellers ten years ago. He said, “Dale Farm was a swamp and a breaker’s yard for years. It was rubbish ground.”
He added that the council helped him to put down concrete and rubble at the site because he had a contract to collect abandoned cars.
Brian White worked for Ray Bocking. He says the council regularly dumped waste tarmac and rubble on Dale Farm.
Last week Judge Edwards-Stuart ruled that Basildon council had no right to remove gates, fences or walls from the site. A handful of buildings and caravans can also remain.
This means the council will not be able to clear the site to create a green belt area.
And while the council cries crocodile tears over green belt, it is handing over chunks of green land to private developers.
It recently passed plans to build more than 500 houses on a recreation ground in Basildon.
And earlier this year it allowed a historic barn to be demolished so that 70 houses could be built on greenbelt land.
The eviction threat at Dale Farm is part of a wider pattern of racism against Travellers.
Worryingly, hundreds of people protested in Brighton last Saturday against Travellers using a nearby park as a permanent site.
A defeat for Travellers at Dale Farm will encourage racism against Travellers everywhere.
If an eviction is announced this week, they will urgently need support.
Go to http://dalefarm.wordpress.com for more information on what you can do to support the Dale Farm Travellers