Beds, Herts & Bucks

Basildon Council seeks officer to work with travellers

Riot officer at Dale Farm in 2011
Image caption Riot police were brought in as bailiffs cleared the Dale Farm site in 2011

Travellers living near the former Dale Farm site are to be given "advice and support" from a new council officer.

The "challenging and demanding" role involves work in Crays Hill, Essex, where the country's biggest illegal travellers' site was cleared in 2011.

It aims to "create an environment... in which all communities have access to services and benefits that characterise an inclusive society".

The Basildon Council role has a salary of £25,201 to £28,404.

The £7.2m clearance of 49 illegal pitches at Dale Farm was the culmination of a 10-year battle between travellers, who bought a former scrapyard on green belt land, and the council.

'Persuasion skills'

Many travellers who were evicted from Dale Farm last year have only moved a few yards down the road to Oak Lane, where they continue to live illegally.

The community liaison officer job description states: "This will be a challenging and demanding role, requiring tenacity, political awareness and the ability to work under pressure."

The successful application with have experience of working with gypsies and travellers, and have "excellent negotiation and persuasion skills", it adds.

Duties include "encouraging access to education, health and social care services" and "promoting awareness of the traveller culture in the community, and vice versa".

Councillor Terri Sargent, member for community, said: "It is a one-year fixed term post which is being funded from an under-spend."

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