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Basildon Council sunk secret group appointed to solve Dale Farm crisis

copyleft | 14.09.2011 19:57 | Dale Farm | Anti-racism | Repression | Social Struggles

The Homes and Communities Agency have confirmed in a letter to Richard Howitt MEP that their offer of land and funding for alternative sites for the Dale Farm community was rejected by Basildon Council in October 2010.

Basildon Council sunk secret group appointed to solve Dale Farm crisis
Posted on September 13, 2011

The Homes and Communities Agency offer of land and funding for alternative sites had been rejected by Basildon.

In letters from the Homes and Communities Agency, made public today, it is revealed that Basildon District Council withdrew from the official group tasked to find a housing solution for the Dale Farm community. This left no plan for the Travellers’ welfare following any eviction.

The ‘Alternative Sites Working Group’ met from November 2009 to August 2010 and included Basildon District Council, Essex County Council, the Government Office for the East of England, plus the former leader of Reigate and Banstead Council and chairman of the Local Government Association Task Force on Gypsies and Travellers (As confirmed in a letter from Homes and Communities Agency to local MEP Richard Howitt, 31 August 2011). They met in secret at the request of Basildon Council. Basildon District Council withdrew in October 2010 and refused to deal with group, over “an alleged breach of confidentiality on details of sites being discussed by the Working Group” (As stated in an email from Homes and Communities Agency to Dale Farm Support Group, 12 Sept 2011). This stopped its work in finding alternative Traveller sites.

Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy said, “This is shocking, Basildon Council have put their prejudice above finding a solution to the needs of the Dale Farm community.”

The Homes and Communities Agency, noted that, “[w]e are willing to place any of our land in Basildon at the Council’s designation as a Gypsy and Traveller site(s). We are willing to identify and invest capital to establish the pitches on such land.”

However, one planning application on HCA land near the current Dale Farm site has already been rejected by Basildon Council on the stated grounds of road safety.

Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy continued, “The behaviour of Tony Ball, leader of the Council, makes life for us impossible. He pulled out of the official process to find a new fully legal site, and when we try ourselves, he blocks our proposals for new sites, even when we have full HCA backing. Next weeks’ eviction is about prejudice, pure and simple.”

The revelations coincide with open letter to the government and Basildon Council that the Council must suspend the eviction and find an alternative culturally acceptable solution to making Dale Farm residents homeless. It was signed by the Chief Executive of the Children’s Society, Director of Liberty, and MPs Andy Slaughter and Andrew George plus 59 others. (Guardian, 13 September 2011, P33)

Questions have been raised about the motivations for pushing for the eviction as plans are revealed for 900 homes on greenbelt land in the neighbouring district to Basildon. Plans for homes on Jotmans Lane Benfleet have the support of Tory councillors, and face a final vote on the 27th September, after a report by a government inspector highlighted the need for more homes.(Basildon Echo, 13 September 2011, P7)

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Hide the following 5 comments

It Would Not Surprise Me...

14.09.2011 21:24

If someone, or a group of people with a lot more influence in the British establishment, wants that land to develop themselves. Of course, they will wait a few years for the dust to settle and then roll out their new plans.

Notice also, that the greenacres traveller site was raided recently. Some of the residents were accused of 'slavery' and others were kidnapped by the police and told that they had been held hostage by the travellers. One man in his fifties said that he had been well looked after and was paid £50 a day.

This makes the travellers look bad, doesn't it. Is it possible that they are the victims of a sophisticated propaganda and smear campaign, orchestrated by powerful and vindictive people? Strange times indeed.



14.09.2011 23:01

Its called priming.

Basildon Council is a Conservative run body and we have a Conservative government. The eviction is going to be very difficult and whatever way you look at it the Conservatives come out of it badly. Either at the national or local level.

Cue a police operation that takes place for no other reason than to prime the public to adopt a hostile approach to travellers in general in readiness for the op itself. Absolutely everybody you have seen arrested for this will eventually have the charges against them dropped for lack of evidence.

Whenever you see this sort of thing going on, the weight of the debate that takes place while its in motion is always determined by the last 'event' the public were primed with.

Keep a look out for the first moron to say "Well, Basildon needed to get rid of the travellers because they would only have kept slaves in servitude if nothing was done"

Its kind of lame but thats the way British politics works. Everybody involved is a fucking savage!

The Chinese have a word for us because of the way 'they' behave.


If your at Dale Farm...give em hell.


wake up

15.09.2011 00:23

Nazis are the same the world over. Fuck you jack I am alright.



15.09.2011 08:57

But the travellers own this piece of land don't they? So although they don't have the right to live on it (like owning any fild or woodland) it can't be used by anyone else for anything unless they sell it. In fact, I think you have a right to stay up to a month on any land you own and can't be denied access to it. Any legal people out there confirm this?



15.09.2011 14:14

I'm afraid that the way how traveller evictions often work on land that travellers own is that the land is confiscated as part payment of the costs of the eviction. Lovely logic that.
In the case of Dale Farm, I can't imagine any development taking place. Not just because following evictions the land is bulldozered (to ensure that travellers or anyone else cannot go back onto the land) but also because only part of the site will be evicted. Any development that took place would be right up against a large site of travellers who will remember their neighbours and family who were brutally evicted from it.