Re: Bill for evicting 90 Dale Farm traveller families could hit £18m

salsyj salsyj at
Tue Mar 8 18:39:12 GMT 2011

This is complete insanity.  Whatever people's different views of unauthorised traveller sites, surely everyone could agree it's utter madness to spend this much council money on one enforcement when budgets, jobs and services are being chopped left right and centre.

The people of Basildon would never vote for such an expenditure at this time - is there anything the ordinary joe can do to stop it?  There must at least be a petition on the go - anyone know how we can add our voices?

--- In Diggers350 at, Tony Gosling <tony at ...> wrote:
> Bill for evicting just 90 traveller families from 
> UK's biggest illegal site could hit £18m
> By Daily Mail Reporter - 7th March 2011
> The cost of evicting travellers from Europe's 
> largest illegal camp could spiral to £18million, councillors have revealed.
> The occupants of Dale Farm in Crays Hill, Essex, 
> have threatened violence if bailiffs move in, 
> pushing up the bill to remove them from £3.5million just 18 months ago.
> Basildon Council has set aside £8million for the 
> operation – almost a third of its annual budget – 
> while Essex Police has a £10million `worst-case scenario' fund.
> Insiders fear moving 1,000 travellers from the 
> former greenfield site could take two months 
> after they said they were preparing for a lengthy battle.
> The removal of the gypsies is expected to take 
> around eight weeks, with the expenditure 
> confirmed in a meeting due to take place next Monday.
> If confirmed, the residents would be given 28 
> days to leave the site, with the enforcement 
> notice applying to 51 pitches, outbuildings, utility blocks, fencing and walls.
> Despite the huge cost, Tony Ball, leader of the 
> council is determined to press ahead if the 
> families choose not leave by their own accord.
> Mr Ball said: 'No one wants a forced clearance of 
> this site and we have spent ten years asking the 
> travellers to work with us to seek a peaceful resolution.
> 'However, it is important the law is applied 
> equally and fairly to all people and if we do not 
> take action in this case, we would have little 
> moral right as a planning authority to take 
> action against future unauthorised developments.
> 'That would set a very dangerous precedent.'
> The huge bill could force town hall bosses in 
> Basildon to axe more jobs and hike council tax 
> and the town's Labour group has opposed the 
> eviction on humanitarian and costs grounds even 
> when the estimations were smaller.
> Group leader Lynda Gordon said: 'Only a week ago 
> we were told we were reckless for wanting to take 
> £2million out of reserves to pay off the sports 
> village to avoid selling off playing fields.
> 'Now the Conservatives are prepared to take this 
> much out for an enforcement issue. It is very 
> worrying how far they are prepared to go on this 
> issue, but just how many jobs and services are going to go as a result?'
> Legal wrangling over the issue first began a 
> decade ago when the council became aware that 
> families had started to used the land, which now houses more than 1,000 people.
> But travellers - who have placed a large banner 
> declaring 'We won't go' over the site's entrance 
> - have declared they will use violence in a bid to protect their homes.
> Mr Ball added: 'We have tried to work with the 
> families concerned to find a peaceful resolution 
> but, after ten years of continued and illegal 
> development of the green belt, we must draw a 
> line under the matter and take action.
> 'However, even at this late stage I am still open 
> to constructive conversations with the travellers.'
> Since the dispute began, council officers have 
> offered private meetings to the affected families 
> to discuss how the council could help them in their efforts to re-locate.
> 'This offer of help has remained on the table 
> throughout the past ten years but sadly few 
> families asked to meet with our officers.
> 'I think families at Dale Farm believed the 
> courts would overturn the council's enforcement 
> action, or that the council would simply back down.'
> Following the confirmation of the notice, the 
> council is required by law to meet any 
> homelessness that arises from their operation and 
> said it had been working with willing families.
> Travellers considering leaving Dale Farm are 
> understood to be looking at up to four sites, 
> including other locations in Essex.
> Dale Farm campaigner Grattan Puxon said 
> travellers could then apply to a £60million Homes 
> and Communities Agency fund to build caravan sites.
> Travellers have been at Dale Farm since the 1970s 
> when 40 families were granted planning permission to live there.
> +44 (0)7786 952037
> "Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."
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