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Dale Farm High Court Decision Put Back

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DALE FARM
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Residents of Dale Farm, the UK's largest illegal travellers' site, will have to wait until next week to learn whether they have won or lost their High Court battle against eviction.

They are seeking court orders in three linked applications for judicial review blocking their removal from the controversial site near Basildon, Essex.

Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting in London, had said he hoped to give his decision this week, but it has now been announced that the ruling is expected next Wednesday at 2pm.

Traveller lawyers have argued 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.

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, who have fought a 10-year battle to clear the site, argued they had acted lawfully and reasonably and complied with their statutory duty.

Bailiffs have been given permission by another High Court judge to clear 49 of the 54 plots if today's legal challenge fails.

Further delay might be caused if the travellers decide to try to appeal if they lose.

On the last day of the hearing of the judicial review application, the judge was told the council had agreed that some families could not be evicted by direct action.

Richard Harwood, representing site resident Margaret McCarthy, argued the council's original aim in taking direct action - to restore the whole site to a cleared, open state - was now impossible to achieve.

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