Dale Farm: Five Facts

The Travellers at Dale Farm in Essex have been given notice to leave the site by 31st August by Basildon Council, who are otherwise threatening forcible eviction. As the biggest Traveller site in the UK, it’s a fair bet that there will be significant media coverage and plenty of comment and opinion.

In the hope that coverage will at least start out as being accurate, here are Five Facts about Dale Farm. These aim to explain the background to the evictions as clearly and simply as possible so that reporters have an easy resource from which to start their stories and for commentators to hopefully get their facts straight before giving their opinions.

Dale Farm: Five Facts

  1. There are Irish Travellers and Romani at Dale Farm
    The site is predominantly occupied by Irish Travellers (and this means people who are ethnically Irish Traveller, not literally people who were born in Ireland), but there are also some Romani families there too.

  2. Half of the site is a legal camp
    Around half the Dale Farm site is owned by Travellers and it has planning permission for occupation as a Traveller site. The Travellers on this part of the site are entirely legal and are not the subject of the eviction process.

  3. The other half is owned by Travellers
    Although the other half of the Dale Farm site does not have planning permission, it was legally bought and is still owned by Travellers. So the eviction is taking place purely on the grounds of planning permission for residential use. It is not a case of Travellers occupying publicly owned land, or land owned by other people.

  4. The purchase and application for planning permission followed Government guidelines
    When the law was changed, removing the statutory duty for local authorities to provide publicly funded stopping place for Travellers, the Travellers were advised to manage themselves by purchasing land privately and then applying for planning permission. This was what Travellers staying on the second site at Dale Farm did. But planning permission was denied.

  5. The site was previously used as a scrap and breaker’s yard
    Although the site is ostensibly on greenbelt land, the previous use of the land was as a scrap and breaker’s yard, which was not owned by the Travellers. This site received multiple warnings from the Council over its use, but was still given permission to operate and was not threatened with eviction.

For a fuller explanation of the issues surrounding the Dale Farm eviction and the latest news on the situation, please visit http://dalefarm.wordpress.com/

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Posted in Gypsies, politics
2 comments on “Dale Farm: Five Facts
  1. Anonymous says:

    Seeing as your post is about educating opinion-makers, having read your post, I would like to express my opinion.

    I preface my comment by stating my impression is that you are pro-dale farm. For the avoidance of doubt, I am for the eviction.

    1. That is an assertion and even if satisfactorily proved, fairly irrelevant to the issue at hand, to wit, illegal use of land.

    2. That is interesting to know.

    3. This is an important point, but I note that even the Daily Hate has correctly reported on this point. Hence, this is a more widely known fact that you seem to be implying. In any case, the eviction is not based on ownership of land, rather than the illegal use of land. (Or as you put it “planning permission for residential use”)

    4. Even if planning procedure was, as you assert, submitted following government guidelines, this is a red herring and is irrelevant. It is no defence to breach of planning permission to say that you asked for permission in the correct manner. The point is permission was denied.

    5. That is interesting to know though it is again, irrelevant to the point of the eviction. It is no defence to breach of planning permission to say you made the place nicer.

    To summarise my view, this is about breach of planning permission and the rule of law. The defendants here bought land cheaply and decided to live there. The land was cheap because you cannot live there.

    I do agree with the thrust of your post though; all talk of green-belt land, squatters and trespassers is irrelevant to the eviction. The fact is this is an illegal use of land and therefore eviction should occur.

    the land (or as you assert, half the land in issue, was bought at a huge discount and is being used in a manner without planning permission. In short, the land is being used illegally.

  2. Anonymous says:

    ThaNks for both your comments it has really helped me understand exactly why they are being evicted. BUT what i don't understand is how can they call themselves a traveller if they have lived in the same place for ten years? Perhaps the term traveller does not mean you travel around???

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