Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Advocacy Project Blogs - Susan Craig-Greene

Basildon Council, are you listening?

Susan Craig-Greene | Posted September 13th, 2011 | Europe

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It was great to see hundreds of people turn out to march alongside Dale Farm residents and stand up against Basildon Council’s £18 million eviction campaign. It was important for the residents to see so much support, particularly local support, as they often believe that all local people think like Len Gridley. Jean excitedly rang her mum (who was too ill to take part) in disbelief and proudly told her that “millions” had turned up to march with them.


As we passed the health centre, church and school that the Travellers attend on our way to Dale Farm, it really resonated how deeply entrenched in the local community they have become over the past 10 years.  At the end of the march, MEP Richard Howitt summed it up in his speech to the residents when he said, “what is happening here is not decent. Throwing people out of somewhere when they have nowhere else to go is not decent”.

The end is drawing uncomfortably near.

Are you listening, Basildon Council? It is certainly not too late for you to decide on the peaceful and logical solution that makes sense for Dale Farm and for local settled residents.  The Homes and Communities Agency officially stated to MEP Howitt, “We are willing to place any of our land in Basildon at the Council’s designation as Gypsy and Traveller sites…We are willing to identify and invest capital to establish pitches on such land…” It is unjustifiable for you to ignore this offer, spend £18 million of taxpayers’ money unnecessarily and make a community homeless in the process.