The residents of the UK's largest illegal traveller site have promised to launch a war on the local authority if they go ahead with their plan to evict over 1,000 travellers from Dale Farm, Essex. Much of the TV show 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' has been filmed there.
Basildon Council has finally won a ten-year planning battle against the travellers after the High Court ruled they can evict them from the site. The council is due to have a final meeting on Tuesday 14 March in order to give the go ahead to serve the travellers with a 28-day eviction notice.
There have been travellers at Dale Farm since the seventies and 600 of them live there legally. A number of families later moved onto an extension of the property and covered it in tarmac before moving there caravans and prefab homes in. They later brought the land legally; however, planning permission was never obtained for the initial work.
It is thought that the eviction will make 1,000 people homeless. Basildon Council has a duty to house those who will be evicted, although very few travellers are expected to take up the offer as it "is not their culture".
Critics of the eviction say it will lead to a mass of travellers on the roads who will be forced to camp anywhere they can while they travel up and down the country.
Basildon Council has earmarked £8million for the eviction and restoration of the land, and the Essex Police has reportedly asked the Home Office for £10million to cover the cost of maintaining the eviction order.
Dale Farm is close to the village of Crays Hill. The residents welcome the eviction as they say they have been subject to intimidation and abuse from those living on the site.
The residents have told the media that they are prepared for a fight with the police if they try to evict them. One resident said: "We've things up our sleeves. It will be like Belfast if they come in here".
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