The Irish Travelers facing eviction from Britain’s largest caravan site will launch one last legal bid to prevent their eviction after their latest defeat in the English courts.
Hundreds of families face eviction from 49 of the 54 illegal pitches at the Dale Farm site outside the Essex town of Basildon after the latest court ruling.
A judge at London’s Royal Courts of Justice ruled that Basildon Council are entitled to evict the families from the illegal sites at the Dale Farm encampment, the third legal defeat in a row for the Travelers.
Justice Ouseley urged the families to accept his judgement and move away from the site before they are forcibly evicted.
The Travelers and their supporters are now planning one last appeal to the courts and expect to lodge documents with Justice Ouseley by close of business on Thursday.
“We want this to be heard as quickly as possible early next week,” said gypsy council member Candy Sheridan.
Camp resident Kathleen McCarthy summed up the disappointment within the 400 strong community on site. She said: “If we keep going we might win something and get a judge who is a human being who understands that putting people on the side of the road is not a human thing to do.” Supporters on site said the Travelers are distressed and prepared for the worst.
Campaigner Jake Fulton told reporters: “They are steeling themselves for a very brutal eviction. We will be resisting non-violently, but we can’t necessarily say the same for the bailiffs.”
The Council has been given permission by the courts to clear 49 of the 54 pitches on the illegally-developed plots but walls, fencings and hard-standing surfaces laid over the years will have to stay.
In his ruling, Justice Ouseley said it was ‘astonishing’ that the Travelers had left their legal action against the council so late.
“It is the residents of Dale Farm who have to comply with the obligation to leave voluntarily. If the removal becomes forcible it would be because of decisions made by the residents not to comply,” he said.
Basildon Council has welcomed the latest court decision and vowed to press ahead with the eviction.
Council leader and Conservative Party member Tony Ball said: “The residents of the illegal settlement have now had their day in court.
“For almost three weeks every aspect of the council’s decision to clear Dale Farm has been scrutinized in great detail.
“Our position has been upheld. Having engaged with the legal system, they must now abide by the result. They have reached the end of the day and they should reflect on what the judge said, that the criminal law applies to all equally.
“The supporters who have stayed with the Travelers on site should stand down and preferably leave the site. If they have the Travelers’ best interest at heart they will do this.
“There is nothing to be gained by their continued resistance and certainly not if it involves violence and other forms of law-breaking as some have suggested.
“If anyone needs help we will help. If anyone is concerned about becoming homeless they should contact our housing department. There is no need for the vulnerable, the young or the elderly to live on the roadside.”