New Delay For Traveller Eviction Ruling

Residents of Dale Farm, the UK's largest illegal travellers' site in Essex, will have to wait to learn whether they have won their High Court battle against eviction.

They are seeking court orders blocking their removal from the controversial site near Basildon.

Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting in London, had said he hoped to give his decision at 2pm on Wednesday, but the ruling has been put off to another day - possibly Friday.

Traveller lawyers argued in three linked applications for judicial review that Basildon Council's decision earlier this year to take direct action to clear the green belt site of about 400 travellers, including about 100 children, was "disproportionate" and must at least be reconsidered because of changed circumstances.

The council was accused of failing 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.

Lawyers for Basildon, which has fought a 10-year battle to clear the site, argued it had acted lawfully and reasonably and complied with its statutory duty.

Council leader Tony Ball said: ``We are satisfied with how our legal team has set out our case.

"It is now in the hands of the judge, who will make a decision when he has considered all the evidence before him."