A group of Irish Travelers are celebrating after bailiffs had to abandon plans to evict them from the UK’s largest illegal caravan side.
Over 400 residents on 51 unauthorized caravan plots at the Dale Farm site in Essex, near London, were saved from eviction by a court order on Monday afternoon.
The travelers won a court injunction preventing Basildon Council from clearing the site pending a further High Court hearing on Friday.
Residents, campaigners and supporters, some chained to barriers, had obstructed the eviction process before the court order came through. They burst into spontaneous cheers when news of the court order came through.
Resident Mary Slattery told the BBC: “We are delighted. Every day is a bonus. We’ve got one last chance and we’re not going to give up - this gives us so much hope.”
Supporter Jake Fulton said: “This is really great news but this isn’t over yet. It makes us feel we have a really good shot at defending travelers in a way that has never happened before.”
The BBC reported that Justice Edwards-Stuart granted the injunction at London’s High Court on the basis that there was a realistic apprehension that the measures to be taken, while genuinely believed in by the council, ‘may go further’ than the terms of the enforcement notices.
The Judge said: “Having regard to the fact there is no fixed date for starting these, but they are imminent, I do not see that any serious injustice will be caused if the actual implementation of any measures will not take place before the end of this week.”
Basildon Council expressed its disappointment at the decision. Leader Tony Ball said: “Clearly I and the council are extremely disappointed and frustrated by the decision of the High Court today.
“The motion was put forward to the High Court without notice which meant that the judge only had one side of the story and therefore has given the council until Friday to go back to the High Court to make its argument.
“I’m absolutely clear that on this issue on Friday that the courts will find in the council’s favor and that the site clearance will be able to continue but until then, as always, this council will comply with the law and we will comply with the judgment that’s been put before us.
“But I’m absolutely confident that once we put our side of the story, our case, that the law again will be seen to be upheld and this council will enforce that law.”