Essex

Dale Farm eviction: Travellers refused appeal bid

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Media captionLeader of Basildon Council, Tony Ball: "We've reached the end of the road of the legal process"

Residents of Dale Farm have been refused permission to appeal against a High Court ruling giving Basildon Council the go-ahead to evict them.

Travellers asked for leave to appeal against a decision last week to allow the council to clear 49 plots.

Lord Justice Sullivan, at the Court of Appeal, said they could not challenge the decision by Mr Justice Ouseley.

Candy Sheridan, of the Gypsy Council, said: "It seems like the end of the road."

Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy added: "We'll have to fight the bailiffs off. We're already in lockdown."

The council is making preparations to take action at the site, while supporters have reinforced the perimeter of the 49 plots, which house 83 families.

The travellers, who own Dale Farm, have been locked in a 10-year legal dispute with the council over plots which do not have planning permission.

Forty-nine plots on roughly half of the 54-plot site at Crays Hill are illegal.

Following the judgement, Basildon Council said it would not be giving any further notice of when the eviction would start.

It also made a final request for residents to "leave peacefully and in an orderly fashion".

Image caption Kathleen McCarthy said the law was "prejudiced against travellers"

Council leader Tony Ball said: "Since last Wednesday evening the residents at Dale Farm have been living on borrowed time.

"I made it very clear following Mr Justice Ouseley's judgment that they should now leave peacefully and in a safe and orderly fashion.

"I also made it clear that the so-called supporters should also pack up their belongings and leave the site.

"If they have the travellers' best interest at heart they will either leave the area now or confine their activities to helping the travellers to leave over the coming days."

'Nowhere to go'

He added: "We are required to give 48 hours' notice to three plots and that we will do, but the rest of the site will now be cleared at a time of our choosing.

"Our job is now to clear this site in a safe and dignified manner and this is what we intend to do."

Mrs McCarthy said the decision left the travellers "with nowhere else to go".

"The law is prejudiced against travellers," she said. "We were told 15 years ago to get off the road and buy our own land, but now they are forcing us and our kids out on to the road again.

"The barricades are all that stand between us and homelessness now."

A spokeswoman for support group Dale Farm Solidarity said residents and supporters had gone into "lockdown" in "anticipation of an eviction".

"Today the Dale Farm community were rejected the right to appeal," said the spokeswoman.

"In response to this news, residents of Dale Farm and their supporters reinforced the perimeter of the (49) plots, which house 83 families, and placed the entire site into lockdown in order to resist eviction."

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