We thought it was all over. At 3 p.m. on Monday, a group of bailiffs in a huddle (surrounded by police and press) left their enclosure for the first time and approached the barricaded gates at Dale Farm. After making a muffled announcement that only a few members of the press actually heard, they retreated but it seemed they were ready to move. Little did most people know, as protestors were standing firm (one with her neck bicycle-locked to the front gate) ready for bailiffs to storm the gates, one resident and two supporters had, against all odds and without legal representation, achieved an emergency injunction to challenge the enforcement notices and stop the eviction at least until Friday. Residents and supporters cheered as they heard the news.
Dale Farm resident and mother of four boys, Michelle Sheridan, said that it was a scary experience standing before the High Court judge pleading for what seemed like their last chance to save their homes. She said, “the judge was very understanding when we didn’t know when to stand and they gave us scented tissues when we were crying.” The judge ruled that there are grounds to consider whether or not Basildon Council’s plan for an entire site clearance would be unlawful and would go beyond the scope of the enforcement notices, and set the hearing date for Friday. Tony Ball and Basildon Council have no one to blame but themselves for the increasing cost of the eviction, which offers no real long-term solution for anyone and could soon be declared unlawful.
Now, even if it is only for a few days, residents are happy that some normality has been restored to Dale Farm. As the gates were opened yesterday to comply with the terms of the injunction, a line of caravans re-entered the site as “Country road, take me home to the place I belong…” blared from one of the vans. Michelle said, “It feels great to be back. I know it may only be for a few days but you don’t know how good it feels to be home.”
Now we wait. The decision on Friday is crucial.
Posted By Susan Craig-Greene
Posted Sep 22nd, 2011