Dale Farm travellers lose battle against eviction as High Court judge rules
they delayed challenge for too long

  • Three linked appeals against eviction fail
    after judicial review
  • Legal battle estimated to top £18m including
    huge bill for Basildon Council
  • Judge: ‘The criminal law applies equally to
    all – travellers and others alike’

By Simon Preston

Last updated at 5:30 PM on 12th October 2011

 Residents of Dale Farm, the UK’s largest
illegal travellers’ site, lost their High Court battle against eviction
today.

They attempted to block their removal from the
controversial site near Basildon, Essex, in three linked applications for
judicial review.

The decision means officials will finally be
able to evict hundreds of travellers living illegally at the site since 2005
after a legal battle estimated to have
cost £18m.

However today Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting in
London, ruled they had delayed too long in challenging Basildon Council’s
decision to take direct action against them.

The picnic's over: Dale Farm residents, and sisters, Margaret, Maria, Nora and Kathleen McCarthy sit and drink tea outside the High Court today ahead of the judgmentThe picnic’s over: Dale Farm residents, and sisters,
Margaret, Maria, Nora and Kathleen McCarthy sit and drink tea outside the High
Court today ahead of the judgment
Day in court: Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, arrives at The High CourtDay in court: Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council which
is attempting to evict the travellers, arrives at the High Court todayThe judge said: ‘It is the residents of Dale
Farm who have to comply with the obligation to leave voluntarily.’If the removal becomes forcible it would be
because of decisions made by the residents not to comply.’

 Mr Justice Ouseley, who is still giving his
lengthy oral ruling, said: ‘The conclusion has been reached time and again that
this is just the wrong site for travellers.’

The planning system had always included a
‘fair consideration’ of ‘personal circumstances’.

He added: ‘The Dale Farm residents have had
that, but they have lost.’

The judge said: ‘The criminal law applies
equally to all – travellers and others alike.’

Basildon Council has been fighting to remove
the travellers since 2005, but a judge gave them a stay of execution last
week.

The residents triumphantly declared they would
be still be living there in 30 years.

Support: Residents have created a Save Dale Farm! message using paper close to the siteSupport: Residents have created a Save Dale Farm! message
using paper close to the site
Dispute: The Dale Farm site has become target for protesters who sympathise with the travellersDispute: The Dale Farm site has become a target for
protesters who sympathise with the travellers

The 86 families who face eviction argued that
they should not be removed because the land they bought in 2001 was being used
as a scrapyard.

Basildon Council said only a small part of the
farm was being used as a scrapyard and it has always hoped to return it to
green-belt status.

Some critics have condemned the court battle
as a ‘farce’, which could cost in the region of £18million.

One of the applications has been brought by
Mary Sheridan, who claims being evicted would be a breach of her human
rights.

Although Basildon Council has said the
travellers can apply for accommodation, her barrister Marc Willers argued that
it had an ‘obligation to facilitate the gipsy way of life’.

Mr Willers said the case had an ‘extensive
history’ but Ms Sheridan was not claiming she should be allowed to stay at Dale
Farm ‘forever – or indeed for many years, or even a year’.

Or will you? The travellers now face removal by bailiffs if they refuse to leave the landOr will you? The travellers now face removal by bailiffs
if they refuse to leave the land

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2048262/Dale-Farm-travellers-lose-battle-eviction-High-Court-judge-rule-delayed-challenge-long.html#ixzz1aaXrF4vO

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