Dale Farm caravans can be removed, rules judge
High court judge rules 49 out of 54 caravans can go, along with most concrete pitches, but eviction must await judicial reviews
Most of the caravans at the Dale Farm Traveller site can be removed, a judge has ruled. Basildon council took a further step towards evicting 86 families from the unauthorised site in Essex after a judge ruled it could remove caravans from 49 out of 54 plots.
The council was also told it could remove most of the concrete pitches, but the walls, fences and gates should remain, quashing the council's stated hope of "clearing" the site and returning it to greenbelt land.
The eviction cannot begin for several days, as Travellers wait to hear about three separate judicial reviews about the legality of the eviction. A separate high court judge is expected to rule if the judicial reviews can be heard by noon on Tuesday. An injunction preventing any removal from the site is expected to remain in force until at least after that decision.
The eviction at Dale Farm, which is now expected to cost Basildon council £22m, was halted at the 11th hour on Monday 19 September. The council had hoped to evict around 400 people, but an emergency injunction was put in place because of fears that the eviction would go further than eviction notices allowed.
At the high court, Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart ordered Basildon council to pay one-third of the legal costs to Dale Farm residents.
Some caravans can remain on site, along with fences, walls, some buildings and some concrete because they were in place before Traveller families bought the land at Dale Farm, or because they were not specified in the council's eviction notices.
Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy said: "This will leave Dale Farm as a patchwork of concrete and fences, not the greenbelt the council are claiming it will be. Where are we supposed to go? They are separating families and ruining so many lives here, and for what? To turn Dale Farm into a scrapyard again. It's ridiculous."