The stand-off is over, for now.
Families facing eviction from Britain’s biggest unauthorised travellers’ site have won a last- minute legal reprieve, at least until Friday.
Some had chained and barricaded themselves in to protest the council leader’s clearance plans.
“The only peaceful solution is when he provides a home for us,” said Mary Slattery, one of the travellers resisting eviction. “And not bricks and mortar. We don’t want bricks and mortar. We want to live like travellers. We are gypsies so why not let us live like gypsies?”
A previous High Court ruling seemed to have settled the decade-long legal row in favour of Basildon Council in southeast England. It believes Friday’s hearing will reach the same conclusion.
“This is about the legality of the situation,” said Council leader Tony Ball. “The criminal law has been broken. It is about fairness for all, about getting planning application first, as we all must do. But we are also very minded of the humanitarian issue here.”
Half of the Dale Farm site is legal. The battle for the other half has been delayed – but it is not over yet.