Tent City plans for possible Dale Farm eviction

Mark mark at tlio.org.uk
Mon Jan 7 16:44:36 GMT 2008

The largest Traveller site in the country with over a thousand residents,
Dale Farm in Crays Hill, near Basildon and Wickford, Essex, which has been
under threat of eviction for several years, will see it's appeal against
Basildon Council's decision to evict be heard in a Judicial Review on 11th
February.  Supporters of Dale Farm have appealed to the Red Cross to help
provide emergency accommodation for all the families who will be rendered
homeless if Basildon is allowed to send in the Constant bailiffs and
bulldozers for an eviction at Dale Farm (possibly soon after the Judicial
Review). After Dale Farm there really is nowhere to go.

Dale Farm has been a refuge in the last few years for families evicted
from other sites. The impossible odds of actually receiving planning
permission for Traveller sites (over 90% rate of refusal) resulted in a
spate of brutal and violent evictions across the country over recent years
(amongst those sites who remained having had permission refused, with many
travellers having been excluded from access to a planning process subject
to highly complex procedures and a dearth of advice - the result being
that many were ostracised and compelled to live on their own land without
planning permission). Infact, Gypsies and travellers had been encouraged
by the Tory Government in the early 1990s to buy land and create their own
caravan sites. Dale Farm was such an effort. The enlargement of Dale Farm
has come about through the closure and subdivision of a large scrap yard.
New 95ftx45ft plots were marked out and sold to Sheridans, McCarthies and
related families desperate to get away from harassment by notorious baliff
company Constant and Co, who have displayed a seemingly personal vendetta
against the Irish traveller community over recent years. See
advocacynet.org website for footage of previous evictions by Constant.
New government regulations require that an effort be made to find
alternate land for Travellers who are marked for eviction. The Travellers
have requested land at a nearby site, Pitsea. This has been rejected by
the Basildon Council, but the original idea came from the former Deputy
Prime Minister, John Prescott, and Pitsea is not on Green Belt land. This
could make it harder for the Council to maintain a hard-line position.

Subject: Tent City for Dale Farm
From:    "Dale Farm" <dale.farm at btinternet.com>
Date:    Sat, January 5, 2008 12:01 pm

TENT CITY - plans

Supporters are asking the council to agree to a site for emergency
accommodation for the homeless, which they are so far refusing to make any
provision for.

Our suggestions are:  1) the field alongside the A127, next to Dale Farm
 2) the land at Pitsea (about which we have just put in a Planning Appeal)

We will be asking the council either to issue temporary planning
permission or "waive" the need for any planning permission, as is done for
other (natural) disasters, for example the recent floods in Hull, or
earlier East Coast floods.

We would like to bring together some volunteers to help set up and "run"
the Tent City in advance of any eviction attempt. Would you be interested?
It could be a weekend project.

We're looking into the need to acquire and stockpile some tents, for
example, as well as emergency food supplies, Portaloos etc.

I feel that the better we can organize the Tent City plan, hopefully with
the Red Cross and others, the stronger will be its deterent effect. The
plan is to get trailers and mobile homes which would be taken to the
Constant pound at South Mimms (Herts) and bring them to the Tent City
within a couple of days - hence even a "successful" eviction will only
result in moving the Dale Farm community a few yards.

Meanwhile, Martin Trevillion, of Essex Fire & Rescue, called with ongoing
news of the Eviction Protocol Conference (with a date to be fixed soon).

Surprisingly, Malcom Buckley, Tory head of Basildon council, now says he's
willing to attend the Conference.

I would like to share some confidential thoughts on what can best be done
to deflect Basildon from attempting an eviction at Dale Farm after the JR.
For a start,  I believe the prospect of big media coverage must act as a
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