James Dasinger

James Dasinger (Irish Travellers of Dale Farm, Dale Farm Housing Association): James received his Bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a regional focus on East Asia from the University of South Alabama. After graduating, he spent six years as a Chinese linguist and Intelligence analyst for the US Air Force. He was decorated several times for his service and held a Top Secret/SCI security clearance throughout his career. He was honorably discharged from the military with the rank of Staff Sergeant. On leaving the military he joined the Los Angeles chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War and served as its Treasurer. At the time of his fellowship, James was a graduate student in the Political Science department at California State University, Northridge.

Dale Farm Myths: Greenbelt

27 Feb

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The main charge against the Dale Farm site is that it is built on Greenbelt land. Greenbelt land is land that is protected from development for the purposes of containing urban sprawl and protecting undeveloped land and open spaces.

My purpose here is not to suggest that the land is not designated greenbelt, or that some of the Travellers are not residing there without planning permission (I will address these issues in future blogs). My purpose is so that everyone understands what exactly “greenbelt” means in the context of the Dale Farm site.

When one hears that Travellers have set up an illegal camp site on greenbelt, the mental image is one of uncaring interlopers destroying beautiful country fields.

But in the case of Dale Farm… well, a picture is worth a thousand words. The first picture above left shows what Dale “Farm” looked like before the Travellers bought it. The previous owner apparently didn’t appreciate the farming life and turned his farm into a car breakers yard. The original farm house can be seen in the photo labeled “dale farm” and still exists and is in residential use today. One can see that the site also contained large areas of concrete and several industrial buildings, a couple of which still stand.

Before the Travellers bought the land the Basildon Council itself used the area to store impounded vehicles (B). It should be noted that had the Basildon Council been overly concerned about the integrity of the Greenbelt, it had the opportunity to allocate funds from it’s budget to buy and clear the site and return it to fields before it was sold to the Travellers. Ironically some residents have been sent enforcement notices saying that they have to return the ground on their plots to grass or tilled earth; ground that was 4 foot thick concrete when they bought it. In any event, clearing and restoring the Greenbelt does not seem to have been deemed a good use of taxpayer money before the Travellers moved in.

But the land was cleared… by the Travellers and at their own expense. They also installed what facilites exist at Dale Farm. The more established areas now have brick fences, wrought-iron gates, and gravel walks, where once, there were rusting cars and contaminated ground. Only the most cynical would not consider what the Travellers have done at Dale Farm to be anything but an improvement over it’s previous state.

Another common misconception about Dale Farm is that the entire encampment does not have planning permission and is illegal. Only about a third of Dale Farm represented by the first photo does not have planning permission. If one looks at the second ordnance survey map one can see that the lower section of the Dale Farm site is a legal residential area with full planning permission. This area of the site received planning permission from an earlier Basildon Council for full residential use. In another of the strange ironies of Dale Farm, the area that received planning permission was largely an unspoiled field.

In any case, there will always be a Traveller site at Dale Farm as long as these legal residents wish to stay. The question is really whether the Dale Farm site should be allowed to expand.

One wonders to what other, better use the Council proposes to put this former car breakers yard? If the high court rules that Basildon Council cannot evict without providing alternate sites for the Travellers to reside, is it prepared to designate areas which now really are pristine green land for new sites?

Is the council’s concern really for the integrity of the greenbelt? If so, why have they allocated almost £3 million solely for eviction operations but NO money for restoration? Why do sites of previous evictions at Hovefields Ave and other sites in the district still contain large piles of rubble and mud pits? Has the council anywhere restored greenbelt?

If not, then how will spending such a large sum of the taxpayers money protect the enjoyment of greenbelt land for Basildon’s citizens?

Views of Dale Farm today:

Two views of the original Dale Farm house as it stands today. While this individual plot is legal by virtue of being the site of the original farmhouse, it is situated on the third of the site which is largely unauthorized.
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A view along the lane of the unauthorized section of Dale Farm. All of these yards are under threat of eviction.
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A view in the opposite direction of the authorized section of Dale Farm.
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A chalet on the unauthorized section of Dale Farm. This home is immobile and would likely be destroyed in the event of an eviction.
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Posted By James Dasinger

Posted Feb 27th, 2008


  • lurker no more

    March 6, 2008


    Tell it James! I have to admit that I totally stand for the rights of the travelers and I’m glad to see that this campaign is in no way inimical to the environmental rights for the residents of Basildon. While I have no doubts about the legitimacy of the Dale Farm campaign, I have to say that it’s great that you have laid it our in open that you’re not going against that edict “First Do No Harm!” as you carry out the campaign.

    I have been following your blog and I have to say that this posting has totally brought me out of lurk mode. Eh… more please 😉

    Good stuff James!

  • Steve Burgess

    March 11, 2008


    What about the human rights of the original travellers of Dale Farm/ Cray’s Hill. James do your research and find out what happened to them. The Irish mob (Sheridan clan) kicked the living daylights out of them, intimidated them and we haven’t seen them since. James you seem to forget we have many traveller communities who live in peace with the residents in basildon (Bowers Gifford, Wickford and Cray’s Hill area). These communities pay their way and are not violent. The Dale Farm Irish lot are thugs. They sell cocaine and are involved in illegal scrap (notice the amount of lead/ copper going missing. If you get into a disagreement with them you’ll likely get stabbed. These are very violent people (several have been put in jail) and the funny thing is is that they are the richest residents of Basildon and are not afraid of flaunting their wealth (new caravans SUVs) but they still claim social security. Unfortuately Britain has become a piss hole becuase of jonny foreigner robbing us blind. I hope they leave, Basildon has already many traveller communities (who cause little to no problems) other towns should bear the burden (or perhaps they can go back to their 2nd or 3rd homes in Rathkeale, Wolverhampton). Wake up James you are being made a complete fool by these professional chancers.

  • james

    March 27, 2008


    I talked to the Billericay police and they said their biggest problem with the Dale Farm residents is unpaid traffic tickets.

    No one at DF has been arrested for cocaine, although settled residents of Oak Rd have been.

    The most common SUV at DF is hands down the Kia Sorento. I haven’t usually heard people driving around in a Kia being accused of flaunting.

    The Rathkeale stories have all come from one source: the Basildon Echo, which prints accusatory pieces about Travellers virtually daily. Both the police and solicitors I have talked to have decribed the Echo’s coverage as rubbish. If that is where you are getting your information from, then you are being mislead as much as you think I am.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • Andrew

    April 3, 2008


    ‘from one source, the Basildon Echo…’

    Wrong again James, here they are in the The Independent national newspaper: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/travellers-leave-trail-of-resentment-481248.html

    In the Daily Telegraph national newspaper: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/06/02/ncott202.xml

    In the Fine Gael: http://www.finegael.ie/news/index.cfm/type/details/nkey/23846

    On the Irish Parliamentary Debates website: http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/S/0142/S.0142.199503230006.html

    I suggest you start getting your facts right while trying to defend these lawbreakers and tax dodgers James.

  • Pharty Politics

    April 7, 2008


    Funny how James never answers when he’s given truthful information.

    Perhaps you could name the police officers and solicitors who told you that the information the Echo prints is incorrect.

    They wouldn’t be solicitors for the Traveller’s now would they?

    Your reporting is very one-sided.

  • aaron

    February 1, 2009


    Why are people sticking up for them?
    do you actually live in crays hill?
    clearly you dont! and you wouldnt last 5 mins living here!
    some of you really need to see them for what they really are! they are scum! they are now telling us they got guns and all that and they going to start killing people! sorry but would you really like to bring your kids up in this?
    most of them own big 5 bed houses in billericay but wont live in them because they want to keep dale farm going!
    they pay no tax, electric, gas and water! they run it off of other peoples in crays hill!
    they all drive aroung in £40,000 mercs and bmw’s!
    its not raciest atall! when did traveller become one?
    they call themselfs travellers! but what travelling do they do?

  • joanne

    March 31, 2009



  • Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a great article… but
    what can I say… I put things off a lot and don’t seem to get anything done. payday loans

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