Essex

Dale Farm eviction: Residents seek full appeal hearing

Protesters began gathering at Dale Farm ahead of the planned eviction in September
Image caption Protesters and campaigners gathered at Dale Farm in September to fight against eviction

Two more legal points are being pursued by residents of the UK's largest illegal travellers' site in their long-running battle against eviction.

Residents at Dale Farm in Essex are asking for leave to appeal against a decision last week to allow Basildon Council to clear 49 of 54 plots.

Their lawyers are also applying for a "stay" on council moves to remove them.

Basildon Council said last week that no steps would be taken to clear the site before Monday.

A Court of Appeal judge is being asked to decide whether they have an arguable case for a full hearing.

Lord Justice Sullivan started hearing the travellers' arguments on Monday morning.

Human rights breached

At the High Court last week, the travellers failed in attempts to block their removal from the site in three linked applications for judicial review.

Mr Justice Ouseley ruled they had delayed too long in challenging the council's decision to take direct action against them and blocked any appeal.

He also ruled that Basildon Council's actions were not "disproportionate" and the travellers were breaking criminal law on a daily basis by remaining.

The ruling was a victory for council chiefs, who have fought a costly 10-year campaign to clear the site.

Traveller lawyers had argued the council's decision earlier this year to take direct action to clear the green belt site of 400 residents, including about 100 children, was in breach of their human rights and unreasonable.

They also argued there had been a failure to offer them suitable alternative accommodation and to take account of vulnerable residents.

The judge refused the travellers permission to appeal, but those in court said they would ask the Court of Appeal itself to hear their case.

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