Dale Farm Travellers High Court Bid Rejected

A last-ditch bid to halt the clearance of the UK's largest illegal travellers' site at Dale Farm in Essex has been rejected by an appeal judge at the High Court.

Seven residents were appealing the move on the basis of ill health. Alternative accommodation has been offered for the unwell travellers nearby.

Bailiffs employed by Basildon Council are due to begin the clearance of 51 unauthorised plots on the former scrapyard on Monday. Eight of the 86 the families living on the UK's largest unauthorised site have already left voluntarily, the council said.

Residents say that while some feel it is their duty to remain on site and ensure the clearance is conducted lawfully, others will take "holidays".

One supporter based on Dale Farm, who gave her name only as Marina, wrote on Twitter: "A lot of thought being given to ensuring the children off site and safe during the eviction - should it come to that."

A traveller, who declined to be named, said: "There are a lot of us who are determined to stay and feel we have a duty to protect our homes. But we have to think about safety and it is likely caravans will begin to leave."

It is estimated up to 400 people live on Dale Farm although this number fluctuates as residents travel on a seasonal basis.

About 50 homes neighbouring the illegal site have planning permission and will remain.

Communities secretary and Essex MP, Eric Pickles, says that the travellers have broken the law and have to be moved on.