Dale Farm Evictees Seek Re-homing Ruling

Travellers made homeless after being evicted from an illegal site in Essex are set to ask senior judges to rule that they have a right to be re-homed in caravans or offered pitches.

John Sheridan, Barbara O'Brien and Mary Flynn - who were living on the Dale Farm site near Basildon - are scheduled to seek a ruling from the Court of Appeal in London next month.

Their lawyers aim to argue that Basildon Council acted unreasonably in offering only conventional flats or houses as alternative accommodation.

A county court judge ruled in favour of the local authority following a hearing in Southend in October 2010.

Travellers have been given permission to appeal against the county court ruling, following a preliminary appeal court hearing in London.

Alex Offer, for the three travellers, outlined arguments his clients wanted to make, at a hearing before Lord Justice Patten.

He said his clients had an "aversion" to living in "bricks and mortar" and would argue that local authorities had an "obligation"to provide "suitable'' accommodation which would allow "members of the gypsy community" to continue their traditional way of life.

Lord Justice Patten granted the three travellers permission to appeal.

The court was told that appeal judges were scheduled to hear full arguments from both sides at a hearing in London starting on December 14.

Lawyers said afterwards that any appeal court ruling on the issue could affect other travellers and gypsies.