The illegal camp site called Dale Farm has been the scene of disturbances recently. It may be hard to believe that the site is an illegal one, as it has a huge community and assortment of buildings.
Over the years the site has grown considerably but now eviction is finally on the cards. It has been for some time but now a timescale has been released.
The area is "green land". This is usually an area exempt from building. A protected green belt of countryside. In such a small country as England this may sould silly but it is necessary unless we are to become one huge concrete jungle.
The site is situated at Crays Hill, Essex, and travellers began illegally camping there in 2001. Over the years more have joined them and the site has grown considerably. 400 illegal patches now cover Dale Farm. Building applications were never made nor building regulations adhered to.
Even the United Nations is backing the travellers. The council is adamant that the evictions will go ahead, although UN representatives have called on the government for a stay of eviction. Of course to do so would in theory open the flood-gates for more illegal campsites up and down the country.
The Tory led council believes that it has a duty to uphold the law. It also believes that the vast majority of local people want the travellers gone. In the 10 years the site has existed the travellers have refused to negotiate a compromise and have simply refused to move on. Previous notices from the council have been ignored.
The evictions are now scheduled for the week commencing September 19, 2011. It is expected that supporters will rally to the site. A call has gone out for safety and the law to be respected.
The council representative said, "We have always made it clear that this was a last resort for us, and it is with reluctance that we have been forced to take direct action to clear the site. We have sought a negotiated settlement and exhausted the legal system for almost 10 years. They are being fairly treated in the same way as we would any other resident of the local area who built on or developed greenbelt land without permission. In that time the travellers have refused to budge, leaving us with no alternative to the action we are now about to take. Dale Farm has been illegally developed on green belt land. By doing this and failing to comply with various enforcement notices over a period of years the travellers have broken the law."
Although some ask what will happen to those evicted, many more people wonder if these travellers, pay taxes and rates. If they do not perhaps that is partly the attraction of Dale Farm.