Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Dale Farm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Coordinates: 51°35′42″N 0°28′27″E / 51.595138°N 0.474123°E / 51.595138; 0.474123

Dale Farm is part of an Irish Traveller halting site on Oak Lane in Crays Hill, Essex. Dale Farm is built on a former scrap yard, and houses over 1,000 people. It is the largest Irish Traveller site in the UK.[1]

The site has two parts, a legal site that has planning permission and a site where the land is owned by travellers but where planning permission has been refused. This land is classified as green belt and is being used by the traveller community despite the lack of planning permission. The unofficial portion of Dale Farm is exclusively occupied by members of the Irish Traveller community, whose cultural roots are in the town of Rathkeale, County Limerick, Ireland.



[edit] Dale Farm

Dale Farm was started in the 1970s when Basildon District Council gave planning permission to 40 families. The entirety of Dale Farm, legal and unauthorised, now contains about 100 families. Ownership of the unauthorised portion appears to rest with the Sheridan clan of travellers. Basildon Council's Development Control Committee recommended in June 2005 that, if necessary, direct action would be taken to clear the part of the site that lacks planning permission.[2]

[edit] Eviction

There is currently an eviction order on the site. As of July 2011 a legal process that has taken many years and reached as far as the Court of Appeal, has concluded with the ruling that Basildon Council has acted lawfully in refusing planning permission for the green belt portion of Dale Farm.

On 15 March 2011 Basildon Council voted 28 to 10 to clear 86 families from Dale Farm at Crays Hill. This follows efforts by the Council and government agencies to find an alternative site for the travellers that collapsed when that process was deliberately released to the press by the traveller's representatives. The Council has repeatedly asked that the travellers peacefully vacate the unauthorised site, and has stressed that it will meet its duty to house homeless families as the law demands. Because of the size of the site, and the threats of violence from some of the travellers, the potential cost of direct action to clear the green belt portion of Dale Farm could be as high as 15 million pounds.[3]

On 4 July 2011 eviction notices were served on all the families at Dale Farm site, giving them until the end of August, 2011 to leave.[4] It has been reported that the eviction date is set at 19th September 2011 and electricity supplies to the site will be cut off on the morning of the eviction.[5]

[edit] Commentary

There has been a very active campaign to allow the unauthorised portion of Dale Farm to remain, largely from individuals and groups from outside Basildon. There is strong support among Basildon's settled community for the Council's actions.

The Peace and Progress Party has advocated on behalf of the Travellers at Dale Farm. The party called a meeting at parliament in June 2006, following which actor and activist Corin Redgrave collapsed at a council meeting at Basildon Town Hall. More recently, the Commission for Racial Equality issued a statement to the effect that the eviction order is racially motivated. The Council strongly refutes this and cites the principle that planning law should apply to everyone equally.[6]

Local Authorities used to be legally obliged to provide sites for up to fifteen caravans at a time under the Caravan Sites Act 1968. This obligation was removed in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. The Commission for Racial Equality says that this has led to there being too few sites to accommodate all travellers.[7] According to the Commission for Racial Equality, more than 90% of traveller planning applications are initially rejected compared to 20% overall.[8]

[edit] Media coverage

As the largest travellers' site in Britain, Dale Farm has drawn much media interest. It site was featured on the Channel Five programme At War with Next Door in December 2006.[9] It was also featured on the "Children of the Road" episode of the CBBC series My Life, and in the Channel 4 series, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. In July 2011, the eviction of the site was the subject of the BBC television documentary entitled The Big Gypsy Eviction.[10]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Rachel Stevenson, "Dale Farm Travellers: 'We won't just get up and leave'", The Guardian (Tuesday, 27 July 2010). Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  2. ^ www.advocacynet.org[dead link]
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Dale Farm travellers camp eviction notices". BBC News. 4 July 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-14017865. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  5. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/sep/05/dale-farm-travellers-eviction-date
  6. ^ Basildon government website Archived from 2007
  7. ^ Commission for Racial Equality website[dead link]
  8. ^ Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) (2006a). Common Ground: Equality, good race relations and sites for Gypsies and Irish Travellers: Report of a CRE inquiry in England and Wales.
  9. ^ Austin, Jon (21-12-2006). "Len claims TV show truce was a sham". Billericay Weekly News. http://web.archive.org/web/20080228030549/http://www.billericayweeklynews.co.uk/news/localnews/display.var.1087527.0.len_claims_tv_show_truce_was_a_sham.php. Retrieved 31 August 2011.  Archived 2008
  10. ^ [2]

[edit] Further reading

[edit] External links

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