Basildon Council is preparing for the final push to remove Travellers illegally pitched at Dale Farm in Essex.
The council have said the eviction process has not stalled and they are determined to remove the last remaining caravans located on a private road leading into the site that was forcibly cleared by bailiffs in October.
The Dale Farm Solidarity movement said the eviction left 83 families homeless including 100 children.
In March, the council issued further enforcement notices to families and a source close to the settlement told The Irish Post, that those pitched illegally are not only bracing themselves for a further round of evictions but are expecting it any day.
He expressed his regret that the site where the evicted families lived had now been “dug up.”
A Basildon Council insider said: “The illegal halting site at Dale Farm in Essex will never be occupied by travellers again but we have to be careful with our next move. The caravans parked at the side of the road are an illegal encampment and there is over occupation on the legal side of the site.”
The insider dismissed suggestions that the council were back to square one after spending ﾣ7 million to remove residents from the site after a long legal battle that ended last October.
At the time, the struggle gained attention from media outlets around the world.
“The process is glacial slow,” said the council source. “But we are close to a decision as to what to do next. The situation is very complex; we are working out the most efficient way forward that will cost the taxpayer the least amount of money. We can’t go in with bulldozers, which is what many people would like us to do, but I feel safe to say that Dale Farm doesn’t exist anymore.”
A Traveller’s representative said the families pitched on the private road would leave if they had somewhere else to go.
In April, resident Mary O’Brien said: “The last eviction was terrible. I never want me or my kids to go through anything like it again. We don’t have any other options but to stay now. I’m absolutely terrified by the prospect of another eviction.”
Last year there were ugly scenes at the site near Cray’s Hill in Essex when police and bailiffs battled protestors and travellers, while a legal battle over planning applications for the six-acre pitch was played out in London’s High Court.
The illegal site at Dale Farm was once a scrapyard, bought by Traveller families who settled and developed 51 pitches.