Tensions are understandably running high at Dale Farm today, as their fate is now in the hands of those voting in tonight’s Basildon District Council (BDC) meeting. As I talk with the Travellers, these are three of the questions that keep coming up:
1. How can they vote to evict us if they have admitted that the eviction will make us homeless?
No matter what Jon Austin writes in the Echo, they do not have plots in Cambridge and they will be forced to live on the side of the road if evicted from Dale Farm. Through a lengthy and detailed process carried out by its Homeless Department, BDC has recognised its obligation to the individuals who will be made homeless by its own eviction. It seems logical that they would fulfil this obligation first, which would render the eviction unnecessary.
2. Why would they spend up to £20 million that they do not have, when we have agreed to move peacefully once suitable alternatives are identified?
All the Travellers want is somewhere with planning permission to live together as a community. It seems premature to begin this costly process before negotiations to identify alternative sites have been completed.
3. Why would BDC vote for something that will adversely affect its own constituents?
Senior Council officials admit that “the costs are so high the council is concerned it may not be able to deliver all normal services during and after the eviction.” Given this statement by its own leaders, how can BDC vote to go ahead when all other measures have not yet been exhausted?
At a special meeting tonight, Basildon District Council will vote on the Dale Farm issue and decide whether or not to serve 28 days notice of eviction. At 6:30 pm there will be a protest outside the Basildon District Council office. Towngate Theatre, St. Martin’s Square, Basildon SS14 1DL .
Posted By Susan Craig-Greene
Posted Mar 14th, 2011