Susan Craig-Greene

Susan Craig-Greene (Dale Farm Housing Association): Susan is originally from Oklahoma. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in International Relations. Susan then won a Bailey Scholarship to enter the University of Leipzig, where she studied the changing role of women in reunified Germany. She returned to teach in Germany two years later on a Fulbright scholarship and entered the private sector to work at an IT market research consultancy. Susan then returned to university and earned an MA in Human Rights at the University of Essex, where she earned a distinction for her dissertation. After graduating, Susan took a placement with Amnesty International’s International Justice Project. She left Amnesty following the birth of the first of her two children and began studying documentary photography. She lives close to the Dale Farm site.



Judgment Day for Dale Farm Tomorrow

11 Oct

As we were driving out of Dale Farm the other day, my five year-old son said to me, “Mummy, if you tell the judge that it is the Travellers’ culture to live together in caravans, maybe he will let them stay there.” After thinking a bit more about it, he told me, “It won’t be enough for you to just say that it’s not fair. You are going to have to tell the judge a lot more than that.”

Here we are again. Tomorrow we are facing yet another crucial ruling; the Dale Farm residents’ fate is in the hands of yet another judge.

Dennis playing with his suitcase outside his yard at Dale Farm, days before the eviction is due to begin. Photo by Susan Craig-Greene, 2011.

The residents have, in some respects, already won. Three weeks ago, bailiffs, who had set up an intimidating compound in a field near their homes where ponies used to roam, approached the barricaded gate and were set to commence a complete site clearance. Now, an injunction and three judicial reviews later, Basildon Council has been forced to admit it was going to over-enforce and has now conceded hard standing, fences, gates, walls and several yards and buildings. The site will never be the greenbelt Basildon promised, the costs are spiralling out of control and there are calls from all sides for someone (namely, Tony Ball) to be held accountable for what can only be described as a botched eviction. But what does any of this mean for the Dale Farm residents if, in the end, they can still not remain in their homes and there is still no obligation on Basildon Council to help them find somewhere culturally-suitable to live?

The ruling tomorrow on the three judicial reviews is critical. If the Travellers lose, the majority of the families will still be evicted with nowhere to go.

So have we done enough? Have we convinced this judge that the impact of an eviction on education and health is unnecessary and disproportionate? Have we convinced him that no peaceful, viable alternative solution has been offered or sought by Basildon Council? Have we convinced him that this eviction is not a long-term solution for anyone and that further marginalizing this community will exacerbate the problem? Have we convinced him that there is a long-term solution; alternative sites must be found and planning applications taken seriously?

My son is right. It won’t be enough to argue that this isn’t fair. Let’s hope we’ve done enough.

Posted By Susan Craig-Greene

Posted Oct 11th, 2011

4 Comments

  • Darren

    October 11, 2011

     

    The site is already greenbelt. Greenbelt is an area defined by the council, and does not depend on the usage.

    • Susan Craig-Greene

      October 11, 2011

       

      Throughout its campaign to evict, Basildon Council has promised to “restore” Dale Farm to “greenbelt”. This is problematic on several levels. 1. If Basildon Council respected its own greenbelt policy, then why did it tip hardcore on the site for 14 years before the residents bought it? 2. Basildon Council never allocated any of the £18 million to restoration. Have a look at the Hovefields site for an example of what would likely happen to Dale Farm. 3. Justice Edwards-Stuart ruled that much of the hardcore and all gates, fences, and walls must remain, so it will not be possible to restore it to “green fields”.

  • Steve

    October 11, 2011

     

    ‘Darren says:
    ‘October 11, 2011 at 9:47 am

    ‘The site is already greenbelt. Greenbelt is an area defined by the council, and does not depend on the usage.’

    Which is theft, basically. Why can people not see that?

  • Will

    October 11, 2011

     

    I am not allowed to my job as I have a neurological condition being looked into, I am not allowed to drive and am not get hardly any money even though I have worked all my life, I have visited my family ever week in the town where i work which is 20 miles from where I live, thereis no public transport to get me there so now I do not get to see my family unless they pick me up and drop me off which is a burden they do but is is costly for them, even if I was allowed back to work I could not get there as I start at 6am and the earlist I could get there on the bus on the days they do run is 3 1/2 hours after I should start and then there is also no way back, now I have family and work ties to there, my MP even wrote to the council there to try and help get homed but they just closed the door on him as well as myself, now I feel I should have the right to buy a caravan and just move to the town and then insist the council deal with me as I have human rights and links and reasons to be there, insist they build me a site with this traveller fund and let me stay close to my family and job, now would this happen? NOT A HOPE IN HELL, so I am stuck in my rubbish little bed sit without being able to see my friends or family, life does suck but at least I understand that not everything is about getting what you want in it, my friend has some land he even suggested I could stay on near my family but again I know without planning I would be moved off in a week, and rightfully so as to be fair I know that the people next to the land do not want caravans there.
    I think the thing that annoys me the most is the woman who keeps saying they will abide by the court, then later see is seen saying she will need to be carried out in a body bag? why use the court system if you are just going to ignore it and call one people to help you break the law more just because you do not like the answers the court decides?
    Yes the loss of a home is an upset, I do not want to live in a bedsit but I have to, yes they might not want to live in a house but then just suck it up for a while, we cannot all get what we want straight away. Let the coucil rehome you to bricks and mortar, laugh at them for doing it if you must but after this is done you can sell your land, buy some more nearby somewhere, somewhere you are more likely to get planning consent and then apply for your site, in advance, do not try to force a hand and just play by the rules, of the coucil do not allow permission anywhere then you can claim persecution and himan rights issues, at the moment though they are in the wrong, yes the council may of cocked up technical details but they are still right and they do not want a giant supersite, and this I understand, as I say, stick top the rules and then complain after you have done it the right way, then the public would support you.
    My old boss built a house near his pub in Hampshire, because the builder put it a couple of feet out of position and also built some parts 12 inches to high the council knocked it down, costing nearly £100000, that hurt him and he had planning but it was out slightly, again the law needed to upheld, so it does apply to many, equally just down the road a woman got in trouble for having her daughter staying in her caravan on the drive, caravan was kept there anyway but the coucil objected to it being lived in, the law is the law even though it seem absurd and harse sometimes.
    Anyway I can assure you if the judge says they have human rights over this I will be moving into a caravan and heading 20 miles west shortly after to live near my family and job and hope I can convince my boss to let me back to work against medical advice also on human rights issues as I am fed up having no money.

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