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Dale Farm Dispute Due To Be Heard In High Court

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PRESS ASSOCIATION -- The long-running dispute between Basildon Council and Dale Farm residents is returning to the High Court.

On Monday, the travellers won a last-gasp injunction preventing the authority from clearing the UK's largest illegal site after Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart said there was a fear that measures "may go further" than the terms of the enforcement notices.

He directed that Basildon Council should serve a schedule on the residents specifying what was proposed for the 51 unauthorised plots on a plot-by-plot basis.

The authority has complied with that order and is now set to put its case before the judge in London.

The Dale Farm representatives have accepted that the enforcement notices were valid in themselves and that the council was entitled to proceed in conformity with them.

However, there was concern about "over-enforcement" resulting in total clearance - including structures entitled to be there.

Granting a temporary reprieve, the judge told them: "I appreciate it is a deeply unpleasant situation but unfortunately this is a road which is reaching its end and there is sadly no mileage in prolonging the agony."

Bailiffs working for Basildon Council had planned to start the clearance of the six-acre site on Monday, but the operation - which is estimated to be costing more than £1 million per day - was postponed while the legal wrangling is resolved.

Basildon Council says that, if it is successful, it will be in a position to start the clearance as early as Saturday.

Members of the International Expert Group Meeting on Forced Evictions, meeting at the UN Human Settlements Programme in headquarters in Nairobi, has written to the traveller community of Dale Farm expressing sympathy.

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