Dale Farm, the Largest Traveller Settlement in Britain, Under Threat

13 November 2006

The Economist reported on 8 April 2006 that Dale Farm, the largest Traveller site in Britain, continues to be under threat of forced eviction. Around 1,000 Travellers reside at the Dale Farm. The residents have purchased the plots where they live; however, only 400 have official permission to settle on the plots. The other 600 reportedly arrived later and are in breach of the Town and Planning Act. Basildon District Council, the administrative authority in the area, has been fighting to evict the illegal residents.

Mr Richie Sheridan, a spokesman for Dale Farm, was quoted as having stated that several of the residents are very old or very ill and cannot move. The group is waiting for judicial review of the Council's decision. The Commission for Racial Equality is reportedly observing the case to make sure that racial equality is maintained. Others, such as Mr Nigel Smith, leader of the Basildon Labour Group, question the method of the Council: "to deal with a human rights issue under a planning law is crazy."

(The Economist)


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