One of the reasons sited by local authorities to evict Travellers from Dale Farm is to ptotect the integrity of the greenbelt. I showed in my last blog how the Dale Farm site was hardly pristine before the Travellers bought it.
However, to take a look at the other side of the coin, I decided to try to find out what happens to greenbelt land after the Travellers are removed? Are the local councils better stewards of the greenbelt than the Travellers? Do the benefits gained by evicting the Travellers (integrity of the greenbelt) outweigh the damage to families that are evicted on to the roadside?
I went to three sites of previous evictions; one near Cambridge and the other two here in Basildon District. Judge for yourself whether you think the results are worth it:
Smithy Fen, Cambridge:
A small unnamed site off the A120, Basildon District:
Hovefields Rd. Site, near Wickford, Basildon District:
Views of another pit adjacent to the one above. The large white chunks of concrete that form the barricades are likely the remains of foundations, while the red bricks scattered about are the remains of decorative walls which ring some yards. This type of wall can be seen in the photos of Dale Farm from my previous blog.
The photos above are representative of what the people of Basildon get for the millions of pounds spent on eviction operations.
Since there are not enough sites in England for the Gypsy and Traveller population, the people who were evicted from these sites likely moved to another unauthorized site. Is greenbelt protected better by shifting people from site to site in an endless cycle of cost and destruction? Or is the better way to do as the East of England Regional Assembly has mandated and start designating appropriate sites for Gypsies and Travellers?
Posted By James Dasinger
Posted Mar 25th, 2008