Councillors vote to evict travellers from Dale Farm

Dale Farm protest
Image caption Travellers and Romany people from across Europe have protested against the planned evictions

Travellers and Romany people will be forcibly removed from an illegal site in Essex if they do not leave voluntarily, councillors have decided.

Basildon council's development control and traffic management committee voted to take direct action at Dale Farm, between Billericay and Basildon.

The committee also voted to take out an injunction and take similar action at The Paddocks near Wickford.

Dale Farm Residents Association said the decision was "very regrettable".

The council said it had carefully considered the circumstances of each site.

Chairman of the development control and traffic management committee Stephen Hillier said: "I would like to emphasise that this is a new decision and follows the committee members' careful review of each individual case and the updated personal circumstances, along with legal and policy changes.

'Very regrettable'

"The committee made a fair, unbiased judgement on the most appropriate course of action on an individual basis and with full regard to all relevant matters."

The government has agreed to pay up to £1.2m of the £5m cost of clearing Dale Farm.

The Secretary of the Dale Farm Residents Association Gratton Puxon said: "We are offering alternatives that would not cost as much.

"It is very regrettable because the Gypsy Council is still waiting for a decision on two planning applications it has made for sites nearby owned by the Homes and Community Agency, for people made homeless by eviction at Dale Farm."

Mr Puxon, who is also a founder member of the Gypsy Council, said the residents would seek a judicial review if a 28-day notice to leave was served on them.

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