Infonight and film about Dale Farm

Dale Farm eviction

Zo./Su. 20 Nov. 2011, 20:00: Infonight and film about Dale Farm A group of people will talk about their experiences on the travellers site Dale Farm in the UK, resisting the eviction plan that had been a threat to them for many years. The eviction took place one month ago. There will be footage of the eviction as an extension of their talk. It´s a BBC-documentary made by a a trusted filmmaker who spent a lot of time at Dale Farm for many years.

Dale Farm, in Crays Hill, Essex, is the UK’s largest Travellers’ community, consisting of nearly a hundred separate properties, lying well outside the village and made up of extended family plots or yards. A number of Gypsies and Travellers have lived at Dale Farm legally since the 1960s. Over the years, more families came to join them after councils began shutting down public sites and Travellers were forced to look for permanent places to settle.

But the land the newcomers bought at Dale Farm is protected greenbelt, making development on it illegal. After a five-year court battle with the council, bailiffs have been appointed to evict nearly 90 families from the unauthorised plots.

Caving in to racial prejudice, Basildon District Council has set aside 8 million pounds to demolish the homes in the back 52 plots. According to the Commission on Racial Equality, 90% of traveller planning applications are initially rejected compared to 20% overall. Families were originally given until midnight August 31 to abandon their homes or face a forced eviction, but they have remained at Dale Farm, as most have no where else to go.  The community has said they’ll leave peacefully if alternative sites can be found, but Basildon council have refused to do so. They view the destruction of half this community as ethnic cleansing.

The Travellers say planning laws are biased against them, and that they have nowhere else to go. “There are some really sick people here who can’t go back on the road,” McCarthy says. “Without an address you can’t get doctors, our kids can’t go to school. The camps we used to pull in to have been closed and barricaded up. Travelling life is finished for Travellers.”

Although they remain as a defined ethnic group, with their own cultural practices and languages, around two-thirds of Britain’s Gypsy and Traveller population now lives in housing. The problem of unauthorised sites is also small, with the vast majority of those who live in caravans doing so on legal developments owned by Gypsies themselves, or privately rented.

Just one square mile of land would be enough to provide all Gypsy and Traveller families in the UK with a place to stay, according to a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, but there is a shortage of authorised pitches. The government, however, has cut of funding for new sites.

For more info look at!/letdalefarmlive