New eviction notices for Essex Travellers
IRISH TRAVELLERS who moved on to the road near the Dale Farm caravan site in Essex in England last October after they were evicted by Basildon Borough Council face new eviction notices.
However, the Travellers yesterday said they will challenge the enforcement notices issued on Tuesday in court before the August 29th deadline for appeals expires.
The local authority cleared most of the Dale Farm site by early November last, though 19 caravans moved just yards away on to Oak Road, where they have lived in difficult conditions since.
The Conservative leader of the council, Tony Balls, said: “I still find it immensely frustrating that having cleared the illegal site last year, what appears to be a small minority of the original residents are persisting with this dangerous and disruptive behaviour.
“It is also apparent to us that many of those who are there illegally are new to the area and have nothing to do with the original illegal settlement,” he said.
Local authorities must “and will always work within the law”, he said. “I just wish that the Travellers would realise that they need to do the same and not only when it appears to suit them, such as when they wish to challenge us in court,” he added.
The timing of the decision has angered some Travellers, who say it aims to ensure their children will not be able to attend the local primary school nor get places elsewhere. One of the Travellers, Mary Sheridan, said: “The council and the government still will not listen. We have nowhere else to go. We want a safe place to live where our kids can go to school. Is that too much to ask?”
The Travellers insist that they have had no choice but to live on the roadside because of the shortage of legal halting sites elsewhere in Basildon, or in Essex, though Basildon argues that it has proportionally provided more than other councils.