Essex

Bailiffs move in for Basildon traveller site evictions

Police and bailiffs are at a site in Basildon, Essex, where the forced removal of travellers is taking place.

Last month, Basildon District Council gave 28 days' notice for those living on the greenbelt site at Hovefields Drive to leave the camp.

The council said it had now started work to clear seven unauthorised pitches from the site.

A number of families relocated earlier in the year.

Gratton Puxon, a founder of the Gypsy Council, said: "We're very alarmed by this. We hope people will have some sympathy with families who look like being put out and have nowhere to go.

'Extremely disappointed'

"We've just put in a planning application for some land that Basildon has for sale at Gardener's Lane and we were hoping that we could do all this peacefully but it looks like the council is determined to use force."

Basildon Council leader Tony Ball said: "This action, which is supported by the courts, is the final part of a legal process which has lasted many years.

"I am extremely disappointed that direct action has become necessary.

"The council has done all it can to encourage the travellers to vacate voluntarily. However, Basildon Council has an obligation to protect its greenbelt from unauthorised development."

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