Monday, 12 September 2011

Dispatches - Gypsy Eviction: The Fight for Dale Farm - Channel 4

Gypsy Eviction: The Fight for Dale Farm

Gypsy Eviction: The Fight for Dale Farm

In a film broadcast on the day that the mass eviction starts on Dale Farm, Britain's largest traveller site, Dispatches reporter Deborah Davies investigates the controversial relations between gypsies and travellers, their neighbours and the law.

Across Britain furious residents complain about the way gypsies and travellers pitch camp illegally in local parks, the damage they cause and the mess they leave behind.

They also accuse gypsies of underhand tactics to win planning permission on green belt land where housing development wouldn't normally be allowed.

Travelling families complain they're constantly moved on by police and bailiffs. They say many council sites are badly maintained and in locations where no one else would want to live. The gypsies and travellers also claim they're refused permission to develop their own sites because of prejudice.

The programme asks whether the government's proposed crackdown on unauthorised development will make things better or worse.

Councils will be given more freedom to decide how many places to allocate in their areas but there's already a shortfall of about 6000 caravan pitches and political reluctance to spend money on the travelling community may mean even fewer places are provided.

Set against that, councils already spend close to £20m a year evicting and clearing up illegal encampments because gypsies claim they have nowhere else