Urgent call for Basildon Council to return to negotiation - via Dale Farm Solidarityby Romany Gypsies on Sunday, 25 September 2011 at 15:29
Urgent call for Basildon Council to return to negotiation
As became clear during Friday's court hearing, Basildon Council will not be allowed to return Dale Farm to greenbelt, as structures that were built while it was a scrapyard may not be demolished. As things stand, taxpayers are footing an £18 million eviction bill to knock down a few chalets, dig up a few plots and ultimately return a community's home to a scrapyard. Dale Farm will remain as land owned by the Travellers. .
The £18m price tag could skyrocket further, as Basildon's council's bungling of the eviction notices means that it is costing more than a million pounds a day since Sept 19 to keep police and bailiffs to sitting in hotel rooms drinking coffee. Meanwhile, we have learned that Basildon Council has been forced to continue renting heavy machinery which has been sitting unused in a field, as it hasn't been able to return the diggers to the hiring company.
Those Travellers still under threat of eviction remain without viable alternative accommodation and eviction threatens to dramatically increase the numbers of homeless in the Basildon area, compounding the pressure on overwhelmed services.
Pursuing an eviction would be a win for no-one. A partial eviction remains a devastating outcome for many families, as well as for already cash-strapped local services.
The Travellers have consistently urged Basildon Council to return to the negotiating table, with remarkable and high-profile national and international support. Bishops Thomas McMahon and Stephen Cottrell have offered to mediate a resumed negotiation.  The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navanethem Pillay, similarly wrote to William Hague to offer mediation by Jan Jarab, UN Regional Representative and pressed for negotiation to restart in earnest . Local MEP Richard Howitt has also publicly offered to mediate.  The All Party Parliamentary Group on Gypsies and Travellers wrote to Basildon Council last week, with a copy of the letter delivered to No. 10 by the Chair, Andrew George MP, calling for a suspension of the eviction and a return to negotiation.  35 international experts on housing rights and forced evictions attending the UN Habitat Expert Meeting on Forced Evictions, in Nairobi, Kenya released a statement expressing their solidarity with the residents and deep regret at the planned evictions . The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has confirmed that it would continue to offer ‘land and investment’ to resettle Dale Farm residents – but that it could only find a solution with the help of Basildon Council. The HCA said it owned ‘extensive’ land within the Basildon district and that its offer of help remained on the table if the council wished to continue negotiations, currently suspended .
Kate O'Shea of Dale Farm Solidarity said; “We call on Tony Ball to return to the negotiation table. The situation at Dale Farm needs a sensible and common-sense approach, and we urge all parties to use this pause to find an amicable solution. The UN and two local bishops have offered to mediate any talks should this be required, and we urge Tony Ball to accept their offer.”
A negotiation team of residents and supporters is poised ready to take up any offer to resume talks.
 The largest plot at Dale Farm, Dale Farm house will remain as it has planning permission. The fences, walls and walkways will remain, and half of Dale Farm already had planning permission.
 Bishops speak out on Dale Farm evictions http://dioceseofbrentwood.net/news/ViewPost.aspx?ID=548
 Guardian - evicted Travellers will be forced to leave the areahttp://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/sep/19/dale-farm-evictions-un-negotiation
 Basildon Recorder - Dale Farm Travellers: our fight is not yet overhttp://www.basildonrecorder.co.uk/news/echo/9260129.Dale_Farm_travellers__Our_fight_is_not_over/
 BBC - Group of MPs call for eviction suspensionhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-14932040
 Statement from 35 international experts on housing rights and forced evictions attending the UN Habitat Expert Meeting on Forced Evictions, in Nairobi, Kenyahttp://dalefarm.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/statement-dalefarm.pdf
Sunday, 25 September 2011
Urgent call for Basildon Council to return to negotiation - via Dale Farm Solidarity (1)