Plans go in for Dale Farm 2

Traveller site proposal – the Government land in Basildon

Traveller site proposal – the Government land in Basildon

First published in Echo News by

A REPLACEMENT site for Dale Farm could be on the cards as fresh plans to create a new traveller site in Basildon were submitted to the council.

The Echo revealed earlier this month talks had been held to create a new permanent travellers site off Gardiners Lane South and Gardiners Way.

Yesterday things were made official as the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB) officially put forward plans to turn the Government-owned land into a site for 15 double caravan pitches.

If given the go-ahead, the plot of land would be occupied by about 80 travellers who are currently living illegally in caravans on the roadside at the entrance to the former Dale Farm site in Oak Lane, Crays Hill. They have been there since last October’s multi-million pound eviction. These families are facing a second round of evictions after Basildon Council served eviction notices on them.

But traveller representatives hope an agreement can be reached on the Gardiners Lane South site before any eviction takes place.

Planning and accommodation adviser for the travellers, Michael Hargreaves, said: “We very much hope Basildon Council will approve this application.

“This is not green belt land. This is unwanted land that has been vacant for many years. “If the plans are approved, it will provide for a good-quality site for 15 vulnerable traveller families with nowhere else to go.”

Yvonne MacNamara, the ITMB’s director, added: “Almost a year on we continue to see the majority of the evicted residents of Dale Farm still living on the side of the road in unsanitary conditions and without running water.

“It is obvious to all these families have nowhere to go, and desperately need Basildon Council to acknowledge their plight and support our proposed solution.

“The current situation concerning the evicted Dale Farm residents is morally wrong and is not acceptable.”

The ITMB has put together proposals for the new site with the help of former residents of Dale Farm and charity Fair Play for Children.

As well as caravans, the proposals include plans for a play area, a community building, a site manager’s office, trees, grassed areas and hedging.

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