“Zach, I’ve got fantastic news! The council has decided to back down. They have stopped eviction proceedings! I’ll be down to Dale Farm later on this morning to celebrate.”
Although I understood what Grattan had told me, I had a hard time letting the information sink in completely. It was, after all, 5:30 in the morning. Grattan, as he would tell me later in the day, had been up for a half an hour, mulling anxiously around his home until he couldn’t wait any longer to give me a call. I, on the other hand, was fast asleep and promptly rolled over in my sleeping bag after I hung up the phone.
A couple hours later, I was awakened again. This time, it was a series of hard knocks on the door of my caravan. As I slowly unzipped my sleeping bag and got dressed, my mind raced back to what Grattan had said previously.
After opening the door of my caravan, I was surprised to find Mary and Margaret, two women living on the eleven properties facing eviction proceedings, staring back at me with wide grins spread across both of their faces.
“Son, have you heard the news?” asked Margaret inquisitively, drawing one last drag from her cigarette before flicking it on the ground. “The council isn’t going through with the eviction no more. We can stay until at least the spring. Come over later on today for a nice cup of hot tea so we can thank you properly. Here, read it for yourself.”
After Margaret and Mary had left, I began to read the paper they had handed to me. In big letters across the front page were the words, “TRAVELLERS CAN STAY – COUNCIL.”
After reading the article more than a few times and talking things over with Grattan after he arrived, I began to have a much clearer idea of what exactly had transpired.
Miraculously, the Basildon Local Council, before a judicial review had even been issued by the High Court, decided to stop eviction proceedings against the eleven yards. Not only had the eviction been stopped, but the council promised not to evict anyone until a separate judicial review covering the remaining 45 properties facing eviction at Dale Farm was ruled upon by the High Court next spring.
The High Court, as I later found out, was prepared to issue a judicial review of the council’s decision to evict the eleven properties. If a judicial review were to have been passed, the eviction would not only have been prevented, but local taxpayers would have had to pay more in legal fees as well.
Not wanting to deal with the headache of a second judicial review, the council called off eviction proceedings, buying its time until the judicial review covering the remaining 45 properties comes before the High Court next spring.
While there is still a lot of work to be done and Dale Farm is a long way from being safe from future evictions proceedings, there is a renewed strength present among all community members. Now that this hurdle has been crossed, people living at Dale Farm sincerely believe that they will remain here indefinitely.
Posted By Zach Scott
Posted Jul 11th, 2007