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Police prepare for potential battle over unplanned Basildon homes

Police have not ruled out the possibility of a violent confrontation as efforts to evict 400 travellers living in homes without planning permission in Basildon, Essex proceed

Travellers living on the Dale Farm site have been joined by students and activists protesting against their eviction which was approved this week following the failure of a last-minute High Court injunction.

Over the next fortnight bailiffs are expected to evict residents and could ‘lay siege’ to the complex, according to the Daily Telegraph. Police are also expected to negotiate with protesters in the first instance.

The attempt to clear the community from the site has taken over eight years and had been delayed by appeals from residents.

Around 400 travellers have occupied 51 unauthorised plots on the site for the past ten years without planning permission.

A 28 day notice served on the residents of Dale Farm expired at midnight on Wednesday night (31 August).

Councillor Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council said: ‘This settlement has been illegally developed on greenbelt land. By doing this and failing to comply with various enforcement notices over a period of years the travellers have broken the law.

‘We now have a difficult operation which we will carry out in a safe and lawful fashion. We will continue to offer housing assistance to those who may become homeless as a result of the clearance and we will work closely with other agencies such as the NHS to provide necessary support for the more vulnerable members of the community during the operation. Action will only take place after we have informed the travellers of the intended date when the operation will begin.

‘In the meantime I am making a final appeal to the residents to leave Dale Farm peacefully. I would also ask any visitors to the site or anyone who truly has the traveller’s interests at heart to urge them to do this as well.’

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