Timeline: The long-running battle of Dale Farm

By Ben Kendall,Lizzie Robinson
Saturday 22 October 2011 08:47

Bailiffs employed by Basildon Council have moved in to begin the eviction of travellers from Dale Farm in Essex. This is how the row unfolded:


:: Small numbers of travellers begin to settle alongside the Dale Farm site, part of which was authorised as a scrapyard. By the 1990s the site had grown to 37 plots authorised by Basildon Council.


:: Dale Farm traveller families began to set up pitches illegally on green belt land.


:: May - Travellers are ordered to leave Dale Farm after a planning inspector declares the development illegal. Basildon Council votes to bring enforcement action.

:: June - Actor and political activist Corin Redgrave suffers a heart attack while speaking at a Basildon Council meeting discussing the future of Dale Farm. He describes travellers as "the most deprived community in the country".


:: May - Dale Farm travellers hold a vigil outside Westminster as the Government discusses new guidance on Gypsy and traveller sites.


:: December - The Save Dale Farm Campaign appeals for a rethink following a Basildon Council ruling to hire eviction specialists and bulldoze the site.


:: May - Travellers celebrate the opening of a new community centre despite continuing court action from Basildon Council to allow the eviction to go ahead.


:: January - The Court of Appeal rules that an earlier judgment in the High Court - which quashed Basildon Council's decision to take enforcement action - was flawed. Lord Justice Pill said the decision to clear the site was lawful.


:: March - Basildon Council votes for a fresh resolution to clear Dale Farm. Officials estimate the eviction will cost more than £18 million. The Government agrees to part-fund the council and police operations.

:: July - Eviction notices are served by Basildon Council. The council gives residents occupying 51 unauthorised pitches 28 days to vacate the land.

:: August 8 - The campaign to stop the eviction gathers pace as actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave visits Dale Farm. Activists begin to set up "Camp Constant" to help defend travellers.

Lawyers fail in a High Court bid to halt the eviction.

:: September 5 - The date for the beginning of the clearance is revealed as September 19. Travellers criticise the council after the date was leaked to the media before they were informed.

:: September 16 - Elderly resident Mary Flynn given a final chance to challenge the clearance of the site.

:: September 18 - Supporters and travellers resisting the clearance of Dale Farm lock down the site as they prepare for the arrival of bailiffs.

:: September 19 - Bailiffs arrive at the main gate of Dale Farm to start the eviction of up to 80 families living on the unauthorised plot. Later, the residents win a last-gasp injunction preventing the council from clearing structures from the site pending a further court hearing. Elderly traveller Mary Flynn loses her appeal court challenge to her eviction from the site.

:: September 21 - Travellers flee the site amid fears of eviction. A group of travellers claiming to be from Dale Farm relocate to a public park in Luton.

:: September 26 - Residents win a temporary reprieve in their long-running battle to stay on the site. A judge rules that residents are entitled to an extension of an injunction stopping their evictions until the courts have ruled on the legality of their proposed removal.

:: October 17 - Residents refused permission to appeal against a High Court ruling that gave Basildon Council the go-ahead to evict them.

:: October 19 - Supporters clash with bailiffs and riot police as the planned eviction finally gets under way.


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