Essex

Dale Farm: Travellers' neighbours plan protest march

Crays Hill residents
Image caption Crays Hill residents say they may hold a protest march if Dale Farm evictions are delayed again

Villagers living near the UK's largest illegal travellers' site are considering staging a protest march if a planned eviction is delayed again.

Residents in Crays Hill, near Basildon, say they may also withhold council tax unless travellers are evicted from illegal plots at Dale Farm soon.

Clearance of the site had been due to begin on Monday but travellers obtained an injunction delaying it.

Basildon Council is hoping to overturn the injunction and send bailiffs in.

High Court judge Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart is due to deliver his judgement on the injunction on Monday.

The controversy at Dale Farm centres on 51 illegal plots which were built without planning permission.

Travellers argue that because they own the land, which was formerly a scrapyard, and have nowhere else to go they should be allowed to stay.

The eviction was delayed after travellers obtained the ruling, forcing the council to give a plot-by-plot breakdown of exactly how the site would be cleared.

Travellers were also ordered to remove barricades.

'We've had enough'

But at a meeting in Crays Hill on Saturday night, villagers living near the site said they were frustrated by the delays and would take action unless the eviction began soon.

Sally Aungier said one of the tactics they were considering was submitting their own planning applications to Basildon Council.

Image caption Sally Aungier said villagers were considering submitting their own planning applications

"We have just about had enough of this now," she said.

"We can march. We are going to look into withholding our rates and putting in our own planning applications to build things in our back gardens for our children to live in - all the sort of things the travellers want to do."

Andy Peake said: "We're going to do a march, if we feel it's appropriate, in the next week or so.

"Why should I worry about inflaming any situations? I have been inflamed for 10 years."

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