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High Court rejects Dale Farm appeal
6:00am Tuesday 10th December 2013 in News
BASILDON Council has won its latest legal battle with Dale Farm travellers.
Some of the families who were evicted from the notorious site in 2011 have failed in their attempts to persuade senior judges that the authority should have offered them another site instead of bricks and mortar housing.
A case was brought against the Tory authority by traveller Kathleen Slattery, who said the council’s offer of alternative housing was not “culturally appropriate”.
As the authority prepared to turf out the travellers and effectively make them homeless, it had a legal duty to offer them a suitable roof above their heads.
But their offer of accommodation was deemed unacceptable by the travellers, who claimed they prefer to live in caravans or mobile homes.
The case made it to the Court of Appeal on Thursday, where the judge ruled in Basildon Council’s favour, saying the offer was appropriate.
Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, said: “I welcome the decision of the court of appeal today which vindicates the Council’s offer of bricks and mortar as one that was appropriate.
It will also be welcomed by many local people.
“The principles of upholding the law while at the same time treating the travellers appropriately and fairly have been at the heart of this council’s approach throughout our dealings with the former Dale Farm community and other travellers.
“We will now continue to work with the traveller community across our borough to address their housing needs where appropriate and possible. We appeal to them to engage with us through due process and obey the law.
“We continue to appeal to homeless families or individuals who we may be in a position to help to get in touch with us.”
Last year, another group of Dale Farm families, led by John Sheridan, took the council to the courts for the same reason – but their case was also thrown out at the Court of Appeal