Dale Farm: MP brands reprieve as 'delaying tactic'

John Baron
Image caption MP John Baron said the decision not to evict the travellers was "disappointing"

The temporary reprieve won by residents at the Dale Farm travellers' site has been described as "a delaying tactic" by the local MP.

On Monday a High Court judge ruled travellers at the site in Essex were entitled to an extension of an injunction stopping their evictions.

The decision to adjourn the case has been described as disappointing by John Baron, MP for Basildon and Billericay.

Meanwhile a protest has been held at Basildon Council's offices.

Conservative MP Mr Baron said: "The judge made clear that the enforcement notices are valid - its been to the highest court in the land.

"The bottom line is, this site clearance will take place. The traveller attitude to the law is very interesting.

"On the one hand they're using the law to try and delay issues, yet on the other they're saying when the site clearance proceeds they will resist it, which is breaking the law."

Basildon Council has been involved in a 10-year battle to clear 51 illegal plots from the site.

Image caption Travellers at Dale Farm welcomed the latest court ruling

The authority has been challenging an injunction won by the travellers a week ago at the Royal Courts of Justice.

After the ruling on Monday, Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy, said: "Every day is a blessing and we feel that at least our arguments are being listened to.

"One thing is certain: we will all stand together. Either we all go or none of us go, we will not let the council divide us."

She added: "We are still calling for the council to sit around the table and hold negotiations.

"We will resist the clearance and some of us could stay legally forever. This is in God's hands and who knows where it will end."

The judge ordered that no caravans should be removed until the travellers' application for judicial review - which is being heard on Thursday - had been dealt with.

Image caption Protesters climbed the entrance of the Basildon Council building

On Tuesday a pair of Dale Farm protesters climbed above the doorway of Basildon Council's Basildon Centre building at midday.

They were arrested at about 13:30 BST and questioned by police.

During the protest they unfurled a banner reading "Tony Ball resign" - referring to calls for the Essex council's leader to quit after the clearance of nearby Dale Farm was delayed by legal proceedings.

Ali Saunders, a spokeswoman for Dale Farm Solidarity, who was at the protest, said: "It's becoming clear that this eviction is a lost cause - Dale Farm has got to stay, Tony Ball has got to go."

A spokesman for Basildon Council said: "Anybody is entitled to protest, and we respect this right.

"Basildon Council is happy to accommodate lawful, peaceful demonstration.

"As Dale Farm protesters climbed on top of the revolving entrance door to the Basildon Centre, police were called to monitor the situation and the health and safety of both protesters and members of the public."

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