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A second operation to clear travellers from legal settlements at Dale Farm may be necessary, a council leader has said.Speaking as the operation to secure the UK’s largest illegal travellers’ site neared completion, Basildon Council leader Tony Ball said two keys challenges remained.
The first was to ensure that travellers did not reoccupy the six acre illegal half of the site in Crays Hill, Essex.The second was to stop travellers over-occupying adjacent legal plots. Some 50 caravans are thought to be on the legal site at present, exceeding planning regulations.Mr Ball said: “Although the majority of the 400 people who lived on Dale Farm have moved on and there have been no complaints of trespass linked to them, it seems many have moved on to the legal side of the site.”This may exceed planning regulations and we will be looking at the extent of that. Also, because the caravans are packed very tight, it poses a health and safety risk.
“We will talk to the travellers and take legal measures but ultimately we may have to resort to further direct action in order to remove them.”We hope it doesn’t come to that, but it is very much a possibility.”Mr Ball said that the council had now removed all caravans and chalets from the illegal site and bulldozed roads and hardstandings.To date, the council has granted 39 out of 59 housing applications from Dale Farm travellers but none of these offers have been taken up.