DALE FARM FAMILIES RETURN AS PLANNING INQUIRY OPENS

Undettered by last month’s brutal clearance, many
families are returning to Dale Farm for Christmas.

In response Tory council leader Tony Ball is threatening
to have them committed to prison for contempt of court
if they breach an injunction preventing re-occupation.

“They have nowhere to go,” says Patrick Egan, owner
of Dale Farm House, who is presently giving refuge
to l5 caravans on his property. “If forced off here
they’ll have to move onto car parks. We’re not leaving
Basildon.”

Next week, however, Travellers are meeting head on
Ball’s challenge to seek planning permission before
occupying another location. A public inquiry opens on
Tuesday (22 Nov) into Dale Farm Housing Association’s
bid to open a mobile-home park on nearby land for all
those made homeless

The land at Church Road, Laindon, was originally
offered by the HCA, a government quango, to Basildon
council to help it meet its duty to provide 62 new
plots for homeless Travellers in ther district. It refused
the offer.

Under the new plan, Basildon could be required
to facilitate the release of funds by the HCA for the
development. This envisages 12 permanent and 60
temporary plots, which would be made ready as soon
as possible for those left without homes at Dale Farm
since the eviction.

Meanwhile, costs arising out of the direct action
operation continue to multipy. Residents are mounting
numerous claims for injuries and damage to property,
which may add further millions to the original £18m
bill for the police-led assault and clearance, which
now appears to have been entirely futile.

Residents are urging supporters
to attend the Inquiry which opens
at 10 am on Tuesday (22 Nov) at
the Basildon Centre, St Martins Square,
Basildon SS14 1DL.
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