‘Another Dale Farm’
Basildon Council will return to the High Court to request the removal of an exemption to an injunction order allowing travellers to stay on an unauthorised site.
Travellers have been systematically creating ‘another Dale Farm camp’ illegally under the noses of council planning chiefs who once admitted to neighbouring residents they are powerless to act.
Notices have been served on the occupiers of land west of Hovefields Avenue, Wickford, advising them of the Council’s application for a two-day hearing.
One neighbour who does not want to be named said: “The council need to win against the travellers at the high court. We cannot let them take over our village.
“I’m worried that if the travellers win then thats it. We might as well say goodbye to Essex.”
The site is covered by an injunction made in October 2016 preventing further development of the land, which is designated green belt.
Planning enforcement notices requiring the land to be restored to its previous condition remain outstanding.
The latest court action is in line with decisions made by the Council’s Planning Committee at its meeting held on February 20 2018.
Occupation of the site has changed since the injunction order was first issued by the court in 2016.
In June 2017, Mr Justice Singh varied the injunction to allow eleven named defendants and six caravan pitches to remain until all legal remedies had been exhausted.
More recently, a new family who had arrived on one of the plots in breach of the injunction left after being directed to do so by Basildon Council officers.
The hearing is set to take place during the trial window of Wednesday June 20 to Friday July 27.
The neighbour continued: “My house is worth nothing since they moved in and has become unsaleable.
“We now have uncontrolled, unauthorised development with well in excess of 100 travellers and the council must be held responsible for the current situation.
“If they had clamped down immediately on the unlawful development and listened to residents we would now not be in this situation and having to go to the High Court.
“We are forever living on edge.”