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A new travellers site in Basildon, for The Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB) have been given the go-ahead for a 15-pitch site in Gardiner’s Way, after plans at Basildon Council’s development control committee, were approved at a meeting.
This will become home to those evicted from Europe’s largest traveler site at Dale Farm, but will only be allocated on the basis of local need from the council, instead of being a replacement site for Dale Farm.
15 pitches will be built on land off Gardiners Way and Gardiners Lane South. Enough for 15 families, spread over 30 caravans, there will be a children’s play area, community building and gardens, day rooms, and utility blocks, which are all part of the proposal for the land, with the site being south of the Dale Farm traveler site in Crays Hill.
In a report to the committee, Basildon Borough council officers said: “The perception of traveller sites is often based on the unauthorised encampments that have occurred. In this instance, the applicants are seeking to carry out a development that is well planned and in accordance with best practice to create a well designed and managed site.
“The Traveller community will be impacted upon should the Council refuse planning permission for this development. It is recognised that Gypsies and Travellers are an ethnic group and therefore are protected under the Equality Act 2010.”
Following a culmination of a 10-year battle between the travellers and Basildon Borough Council last year, around 400 people were cleared from Dale Farm in October 2011, after buying a former scrapyard on green belt land, and the council. It saw a clearance of 49 illegal pitches.
At the time, the area was the largest illegal travellers site in Europe, with the operation to clear, costing more than £7million. Some of the families that were moved on, are now living illegally on Oak Lane, a road that leads up towards the Dale Farm site.
It is anticipated, that the first families will move onto the site around June 2014, with developments of the area now going forward.