Ill traveller loses eviction appeal

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The Independent Online

Elderly traveller Mary Flynn has lost her appeal court bid to challenge her eviction from the UK's biggest illegal travellers' site.

The case was heard as hundreds of residents, bolstered by supporters, barricaded themselves inside Dale Farm in Basildon, Essex, to resist the mass clearance of the site.

Mrs Flynn, 72, suffers breathing problems and uses an electric nebuliser and has been a crucial protagonist in the bid to stop the clearance.

Her counsel, Stephen Cottle, said today that she was "too frail" to be evicted, and "dispossessing" her of her land would be "disproportionate" under human rights laws.

But Lord Justice Pill rejected the arguments. He dismissed Mrs Flynn's application for permission to appeal against a High Court judge's refusal last month to grant a temporary injunction to halt or delay the evictions.

Today's decision comes at the end of a decade-long legal fight over unauthorised development of the former scrapyard next to a legal travellers' site.

It involves 51 unauthorised plots on six acres, home to up to 400 people.

An estimated 200 supporters and residents remain on site.

Stephen Cottle, appearing for Mrs Flynn, argued that the enforcement notice which had led to eviction proceedings did not require her removal but only the taking up of hardcore on the land, including the hardstanding for her caravan.

He told the judge: "She is too frail, her medical condition is too pronounced, too severe for her to be evicted for failing to take up hardcore on her plot.

"There may well be other ways of achieving the removal of the hardcore."

Mr Cottle said Mrs Flynn was being "dispossessed", and it was arguable there had been an unlawful interference with her right under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights to a private and family life.

He said the court should decide, in the light of the further degeneration of Mrs Flynn's health, whether that interference was "proportionate or disproportionate".

Rejecting the submission, Lord Justice Pill said the application had been made late, and a further court hearing would not be appropriate.

He ruled that Mrs Flynn's personal circumstances and rights had already been taken into account during the planning process, and the council recently considered her up-to-date medical position before deciding to continue with eviction.

The judge said the council was now "entitled to exercise their right to enter the property" for eviction purposes.