Dale Farm Travellers Head Back To Court

17 October 2011, 05:55

Residents of the UK's largest illegal travellers' site will be back in court today (Monday October 17th) in the latest round of their long-running battle against eviction.

Last Wednesday their bid to stay at Dale Farm in Essex was dismissed by the High Court, but they immediately vowed to take their fight to the Court of Appeal.

A hearing has now been listed before Lord Justice Sullivan at 11am.

Part of today's hearing is expected to be an application for a "stay'' on moves by Basildon Council to remove them from the site.

At the High Court, the travellers failed in attempts to block their removal from the controversial site in three linked applications for judicial review.

Mr Justice Ouseley ruled they had delayed too long in challenging the council's decision to take direct action against them.

He also ruled that Basildon Council's actions were not "disproportionate''.

The judge said the travellers were breaking criminal law on a daily basis by remaining and their removal was necessary to avoid "the criminal law and the planning system being brought into serious disrepute''.

The ruling was a victory for council chiefs, who have fought a costly 10-year campaign to clear the site.

Traveller lawyers had argued the council's decision earlier this year to take direct action to clear the green belt site of 400 residents, including about 100 children, was in breach of their human rights and unreasonable.

They also argued there had been a failure to offer residents suitable alternative accommodation and to take account of vulnerable residents, including the sick in need of regular medication and children whose schooling would be disrupted if families were evicted.

Basildon Council has pledged that no steps will be taken to clear the site before Monday.