Dale Farm Travellers Lose Battle Against Eviction
Residents of the Dale Farm travellers’ site have lost their High Court battle against eviction.
Basildon Council has been attempting to remove the travellers for a decade.
Bailiffs had been due to begin evicting people from the site in Essex on 19 September, but a series of legal challenges launched by the residents had delayed the operation.
The latest challenge had involved three applications for judicial review.
But in the ruling at the High Court today, Mr Justice Ouseley said they had taken too long to challenge the council's decision to take action against them.
He told the court "the essential features [of the case] come down against the travellers".
The eviction and the accompanying police operation are expected to cost the council an estimated £18 million.
The site is currently home to around 400 people.
Dale Farm Solidarity, a group that supports the travellers, said the decision would leave the site as a "patchwork of concrete and fences, along with a few isolated residential plots".
Resident Kathleen McCarthy said: “Travellers have always faced persecution under the law – we hoped that this time would be different, but it seems like the High Court cares more about planning regulations than our human rights.
"I can’t believe they would carry on with this senseless eviction, that will separate families and tear apart a community, just to make Dale Farm into a scrapyard again.”
Lawyers for the Dale Farm residents will appeal the decision. But the judge said it was very unlikely that any appeal would succeed.
Tony Ball, the leader of Basildon Council, said the verdict was "not a day for triumphalism" but said he took "quiet satisfaction" in the decision.
"The residents of the illegal settlement at Dale Farm have now had their day in court. For almost three weeks every aspect of the council’s decision to clear Dale Farm has been scrutinised in great detail and our position has been upheld," he said.
"I strongly urge the travellers not to return to the path of unlawful resistance. As I have said they have had their day in court – having sought the support of the law of the land they must now obey that same law."