Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/687/12861
Dale Farm - call off the evictions of residents
Dave Murray, Basildon
Basildon council's attempts to evict 86 Traveller families from Dale Farm have been thrown into confusion by decisions of the high court. The court found that the eviction orders the council has obtained do not give it the right to remove the pre-existing structures from Dale Farm's days as a scrapyard, nor would they allow the council to remove the fences, gates, walls etc that residents have used to define their plots.
Travellers' representatives have lodged a series of judicial reviews with the courts, challenging the overall legality of the evictions, which are likely to delay any action by the council and its bailiffs yet further.
Like another Tony, Tory council leader Tony Ball seems, in his own small way, to have launched a war based on completely false premises. According to him, the evictions were aimed at protecting the 'Green Belt' and upholding the sanctity of the Town and Country Planning Act.
It has now become clear that the council itself removed the site from the green belt by dumping hardcore at Dale Farm and using it to store abandoned motor vehicles in partnership with the previous owner - who ran a breakers' yard on the site. The finding of the court, that the council's proposals for clearing the site break the law, blows another gaping hole in Mr Ball's case.
Dale Farm residents and their supporters at "Camp Constant" are maintaining their vigilance, as, despite the ruling of the courts, the council still has a field full of bailiffs, security guards and heavy plant sitting idle on their doorstep.
Residents' representatives are trying to open up negotiations with the council aimed at finding alternative sites for Travellers from Dale Farm. The council has stonewalled previous attempts on this score, even though the Homes and Communities Agency has identified suitable land.
As the council daily throws another brick of cash into the fire by keeping its forced eviction operation on standby, socialists and anti-cuts activists must demand the evictions be called off. If Basildon council has money to burn, let them spend it on publicly owned housing for all who require it.
Dale Farm Solidarity is asking supporters to keep an eye on their website for further developments - with the possibility that the bailiffs will pile in hurriedly if any of the judicial reviews fail. http://dalefarm.wordpress.com/
In The Socialist 28 September 2011:
Building for 30 November strike
Jarrow march for jobs
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