Basildon (UK): Dale Farm Protestor Awarded Damages For Police Detention

A supporter of families at Dale Farm who was arrested during the forced eviction in 2011 has been awarded damages this week. Lu Smith, one of many arrested during the eviction, has settled her claim for damages against Essex Police. She was arrested at Dale Farm on 19 October 2011 while there as an activist protesting against the eviction of Travellers from the estate. Police said she was obstructing a bailiff – a minor offence for which the maximum penalty is a fine. Once Smith was already under arrest, and after she had been lifted and carried to a police vehicle, she was handcuffed despite already being in police custody and having shown no resistance. Smith was held in a police van and thereafter a larger police vehicle referred to as a “prison bus” for five hours. Her handcuffs remained on throughout the full period in the van and she was denied access to toilet facilities as well as water. Eventually, she and other protestors were forced to urinate on the floor of the van with no privacy and while in handcuffs.

UK: Basildon Council orders Dale Farm families to pay for their own eviction

In October 2011, Basildon Council violently evicted 83 families from land they owned (at Dale Farm) because they did not have planning permission. Now, Basildon Council has told families who have virtually nothing left that they must pay £4.3 million for the cost of the eviction!

Many of the families had lived in Basildon for over 10 years: their children were born in the borough, attend the local school and were the first generation in the community to learn to read and write. The bulldozers turned this once thriving and close-knit community into a virtual wasteland, creating deep troughs and huge banks of earth to make it uninhabitable.

[Read More]

Basildon (UK): Travellers celebrate “step in the right direction”

Yesterday evening Basildon Borough Council’s planning committee finally passed a planning application for 15 pitches to accommodate some of the most vulnerable homeless Gypsy and Traveller families in Basildon. This is the first site approved by the Council since official planning needs assessments in 2006 stated the need for between 157 and 163 pitches for Gypsy and Traveller families in Basildon by 2011.[1]
[Read More]