Maybe I’m stupid but I am at a loss to see how Basildon Council can justify spending an amount purported to be £18 million on evicting travellers from the Dale Farm site. The site itself was a scrap metal yard prior to the travellers purchasing it and they have now been in occupation for 10 years without planning permission on a site which is part of the Green Belt. The site where the evictions are taking place is right next to another site where the caravans/mobile h0mes etc. have planning permission and to complicate things even further there are legitimate mobile homes on the eviction site which do have planning permission.
Quoted in the Echo the Bishop of Chelmsford The Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell is reported as saying: “we should pray for a peaceful clearance of Dale Farm”, but warned the eviction solves no problems.The Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell said: "As we witness the sad and difficult eviction of the travelling community from Dale Farm, let us pray that it happens peacefully and that no one is hurt or injured. But let us also remember that this eviction does not solve the problem but moves it somewhere else. These families are going to have to sleep somewhere tonight.What is needed is a national solution to provide travelling communities with stable, permanent and, if they wish, settled sites so that their culture and community can be maintained and flourish within the law."
At one time it was the responsibility of local authorities to provide suitable sites for travellers but this was rescinded some years ago. I really think Basildon Council could find a better way of spending £18 million pounds just to move a problem out of their area into somebody else's.