Dale Farm update/Traveller Solidarity Network Bulletin

mark at tlio.org.uk mark at tlio.org.uk
Sat Jan 21 13:26:56 GMT 2012

Update from Dale Farm

Hundreds of Dale Farm residents are encamped along the sides of the 
private road leading into the estate. They have been there since the 
police-led clearance operation last October. But now they are working 
to get back their old homes.

Most of those homes are out of reach behind huge mounds of earth and 
trenches, left there by Basildon Borough Council to obstruct any 
attempt at repossession. The policy of ethnic-cleansing has so far 
cost millions of pounds. The Council boasts it has another two million 
to waste on further harassment of "unauthorized" Gypsy and Traveller 
communities in the district.

On Beauty Drive, three properties with residential planning permission 
could be re-occupied. What has prevented this is the malicious 
destruction of the road and right of way, and the trenching of 
hard-standing needed for the caravans. Cess-tanks have been broken, 
and water and electricity supplies ruptured.

Much of the eviction clearance has been declared illegal, leading to a 
mounting number of compensation claims against Basildon. In addition, 
the police face personal injury and other claims due to their use of 
50,000-volt Taser stun -guns and other high-handed action employed to 
quell resistance.

In coming weeks a test-case planning apppeal will be heard for 27 
Beauty Drive, home of widow Mary Flynn. During February she also 
expects a hearing in the High Court that will determine whether nearly 
40 families who turned down houses and council flats should be 
provided culturally appropriate caravan pitches instead.

Mary's appeal would be helped by supporters and residents of Dale Farm 
sending letters supporting her appeal. So the Traveller Solidarity 
Network is calling for supporters to write letters.

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.
(additional points below)


State whether or not you a statutory party..

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

Yours faithfully,


send your letter by email to:

appeals at ..., planning at ...,
tony.ball at ..., enquiries at ...
and bcc: ycx26 at ..., dalefarmbackoffice at ... (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.


Additional points/arguments which could be used against BDC's reasons 
for refusal:

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 

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) the previous decision of the Secretary of State should not be taken 
into account because this was not informed by the previous points
d) that both the Development Control and Traffic Management Committee 
and the Secretary of State were misled 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 

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 
(Article 24 of the European Union's charter of Fundamental Rights: IN 

From: travellersolidarity at ...
Sender: dalefarm-solidarity-bounces at ...
Subject: [dalefarm-solidarity] Traveller Solidarity Network Bulletin
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2012 14:07:51 -0000
To: dalefarm-solidarity at ...

Traveller Solidarity Network Bulletin
January 2012

Here are some updates from the Traveller Solidarity Network. As 
always, we welcome new people to get involved! This email should 
contain different opportunities to find out more about TSN and get 
stuck in.

There has been a lot in the news about a recent government decision to 
fund hundreds of Traveller sites "in order to avoid a repeat of Dale 

Our experiences of the government's support of the brutal eviction - 
including providing the funding for the extremely violent policing - 
means that we don't have a lot of faith in the government's intentions 
or actions, and no sites have yet been approved on the local level. 
Though this could be a positive step, much of the money had been 
agreed or accounted for previously, and even if all the sites were 
actually built, it would hardly scratch the surface of the 
under-provision of sites.

In the bulletin:

-TSN National Meeting - 25 February - Cambridge
-Info Tour- March 2012 - A Town Near You!
-London TSN Meeting - 19 February
-TSN Cambridge
-Outreach Working Group meeting - soon!

-Write a letter of support for the Dale Farm Residents' Association 
planning permission appeal

-Legal working group: get involved, ongoing actions against the 
police, court support needed
-Fightback - take action against nasties
-Traveller Liaison: visit to Romany community in Meriden, callout for 
help with info-tour
-Update from Dale Farm (moved to above)


=== Traveller Solidarity Network National Meeting

The next national meeting for the TSN will be in Cambridge on Saturday 
25 February.
We will be discussing important things like what to plan for Roma 
Nation Day on April 8th, and continued work with the communities we 
have been in contact with. Stay tuned for an agenda and timings. 
Please submit agenda items and proposals to: tsn-internal [at] 

It will be followed on Sunday by an action debrief from Dale Farm for 
people who were involved in the eviction resistance. For more info 
about that, contact: tsn-internal [at] noflag.org.uk.

=== Traveller Solidarity Info Tour

The Traveller Solidarity Network is organising a UK-wide speaker tour 
throughout the month of March. Twenty-five cities will be hosting TSN 
activists and Travellers at info-nights geared towards linking up 
those who want to support Travellers with local Traveller communities 
to discuss where the fight for Travellers' rights is heading in the 

A list of confirmed dates and locations can be found here: 

=== London TSN Meeting

19th February, 1-3pm
Freedom Bookshop, Autonomy Room, Whitechapel

London TSN meets every six weeks or so to discuss what we can do as a 
London group to take action on Gypsy Roma and Traveller rights. At our 
next meeting we will be talking about taking action against anti-Roma 
racism in London, and liaising with London Traveller communities. All 
welcome- come along!

=== TSN Cambridge

Cambridge Traveller Solidarity are doing a lot of exciting work with 
the Smithy Fen Traveller Site in Cambridgeshire. If you are based in 
Cambridge and would like to get involved, contact: tsn-cambs [at] 
riseup.net   for more info

=== Outreach Working Group meeting

Outreach plans to have a meeting in London soon. Contact: tsn-outreach 
[at] noflag.org.uk   to find out more, or to request leaflets or 
advice on how to start a local group from scratch.


=== Support the Dale Farm Resident's Association - Mary Flynn Appeal
Letter writing campaign:

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, so 
TSN is calling for people to write in support.

We need help on this - there has been an organised letter writing 
campaign against this appeal and the NIMBYs are out-numbering us at 
the moment. If you were staying at Dale Farm between August and 
September 2011 then you are a statutory party and your reply would be 
especially useful, but anyone who cares about this is eligible to 
write a letter.

See the TSN website for more information and spread this call-out 
through your networks, please.


=== Update from Legal Working Group

The Legal working group have had a busy month with teams working on:
* Defamation and misuse of private info claims/ other media abuses
* Arrestee Support, reviewing evidence and court support
* Actions against the police
* Personal injury claims
* Property damage complaints and claims
* Freedom of information requests
* Training and good practice guides to help others upskill
* Support for Mary Flynn Appeal

There's lots of work still to do and we would welcome new members. 
Because we are working with sensitive data though, we do ask that 
people attend either a national or regional meeting first, before 
joining this group.

--- Actions against the police - callout to Dale Farm residents and 

If you think you may have a complaint against the police, the legal 
team are happy to talk to you, talk you through taking action against 
them and put you in touch with a good solicitor who wants to take them 

This is a good idea because - it makes the police look bad, they have 
to pay us lots of compensation, and in theory if they get sued enough 
times it might make them think twice about how they act! So please do 
come forward!

Things that you can sue them for are a lot smaller than you think, and 
can be as little as police pushing you or touching you unnecessarily, 
being rude or aggressive, abusing their power (which can cover a lot 
of things) as well as false imprisonment and other things for those 
Contact: tsn-legal [at] noflag.org.uk   for more info

--- Court Support - January 27th, Basildon Crown

One of our supporters facing serious charges arising out of the Dale 
Farm action is in Basildon Crown Court on 27th January. Come along to 
show solidarity; let's see if we can fill the public gallery!
Contact: tsn-legal [at] noflag.org.uk   for more info.

=== Update from Fightback Working Group

In the fight against racist organisations and institutions 
profiteering from the state-sponsored ethnic cleansing of Dale Farm; 
the fightback group have now compiled a comprensive targets list 
available in the "Direct Action" section of the TSN website 
(travellersolidarity.org), and are encouraging all affinity groups, 
local groups, and individuals, to plan, formulate and enact their own 
actions with the diversity of tactics avaliable to them.... We are 
also putting a callout for all those who take
actions against these or other anti-Traveller institutions to send us 
their press releases at tsn-fightback at ... so they can be publicised 
anonymously. We are also currently working on compiling a bailiff 
watch list (along the same lines as fit watch) and appeal to anyone 
with photos, names, or other details of bailiffs involved to our email 

=== Update from Traveller Liaison Working Group

Among other visits, a group of us visited the Hillside Park Romany 
Gypsy site in the village of Meriden, near Birmingham. The community 
is facing eviction and has a racist anti-Traveller camp stationed 
permanently outside. We had a long chat with Jim, a resident who is 
committed to fighting for their rights and who is really enthusiastic 
about working together with TSN. There will be another visit to the 
site on Tuesday 24th January to help residents with letter writing, 
make banners for a demonstration we are helping organise in the first 
week of February and to make a short film to publicise the goings on.

If you live near Birmingham or Coventry check: 
www.travellersolidarity.org   for details of the demonstration, or 
contact: tsn-travellerliaison [at] noflag.org.uk

We are compiling a list of Traveller contacts that should enable more 
visits to local sites in your area. Again, email us if you are 
interested in linking up with Travellers in your area and we will 
provide resources if needed to facilitate this.

=== Info Tour

The organising for the info tour is going well, but we're having some 
problems making activist contacts in a few cities, and it's good to 
have people on the ground getting stuff going. If anyone has any 
contacts who would be up for helping with stuff and getting involved 
in organising the meetings, or even just suggesting venues and 
postering, in the following towns, would be great:

St Albans

email: tsn-info [at] lists.noflag.org.uk   or chat to anyone in the 


=== Holocaust Memorial Event
29th January 2012, 3-6pm
10 Harmony Hall, Truro Road, Walthamstow, E17 7BY,

Hosted by Amnesty International Waltham Forest and Waltham Forest
Speakers include Roma Activists from Hungary and the Czech Republic.

=== London No Borders Convergence
London, 13-18 February

The Convergence will include seminars and workshops on a wide range of
topics, from immigration detention and forcible deportations, EU
immigration policies and its border agency (Frontex), through
institutional racism and social services provision, the exploitation
migrant workers and students, to No Border camps, radical solidarity,
direct action and much more.However, we don't want to just talk; we
that during this week people will also get together to plan and take
action against various aspects of the border regime in London and the
surrounding areas.

The aim is to get together to share our knowledge and experiences in
relation to people's freedom of movement and the restrictions on it,
to share skills, network, strategise and take action. We seek to
create a
temporary space for the production of counter-narratives and practices
the very idea of governing people's movement through border controls.

=== South London Anti-Fascists Group Annual General Meeting 2012

Wednesday 25th January 2012, 7pm - 9pm
The Bread and Roses Pub, 68 Clapham Manor Street, SW4 6DZ

The British National Party may be imploding but they achieved 5% at
last GLA elections. At this meeting we will elect our officers and
if we should broaden our focus to community organising. We'll also
the new British Freedom Party how to tackle the English Defence
Following the conviction of two of Stephen Lawrence's murderers, there
a lot to reflect on at this year's AGM. Speakers confirmed: Dr Jane
Holgate – Co-founder of Hackney Unites, Paul Stott – Anti-Fascist
& Academic, Performance by The Ruby Kid.
Find the event on Facebook:

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