Dale Farm traveller reprieve

Hopes have been raised that Dale Farm, the largest traveller site in the UK, will gain a reprieve from eviction in the New Year.

Two appeals in the area at nearby sites have led to one yard on Cranfield Road given a five-year allowance for residential use, and three other sites, on Gypsy Hill, have won four years each.

The victories have followed news that due to the restructuring of central government begun in May, which split off a 'Communities and Local Government' ministry from the Office of The Deputy Prime Minister, a planned judicial review on Dale Farm's future has been put off until spring next year.

Traveller campaigner Grattan Puxon received a letter from Basildon council saying that a new plan is being drawn up regarding planning over traveller sites, which could represent a major U-turn on the Tory council's controversial policy decision to put aside £3million for a legal and direct action campaign to enforce evictions.

He said: “I think it's likely they will give us more time and I'm very happy with that. If we get a four year extension it will make 10 years at the place and the administration may have changed, they may give permission to stay.

“The council will put out a new development plan and lay out which will agree time scales for finding extra sites. Involved parties will get 21 days and two weeks after that the results of the appeals will be mad known. It hopes to bring the whole process to a close within seven weeks.”

Some sites are still not covered by the effective moratorium on evictions however, with protection orders at ten central plots at Dale Farm and another at Merryfield due to run out at Christmas.

The site has been called the 'last stand' for many Irish Travellers.