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Traveller families face eviction

6 June 07 06:40 GMT

Councillors have voted to evict 14 traveller families from an illegal site despite a judicial review of an appeal against orders for others to leave.

Basildon Council has decided to evict the families from the travellers' site at Cray's Hill in Essex which is said to be the largest in England.

The development control committee has decided to take "direct action" against those living on Dale Farm.

But the order will be delayed while the judicial review's carried out.

One of the residents Michelle Sheridan said she could not see why she should have to move and feared eviction procedures would harm her children.

"I would love to stay here but our greatest fear is to wake up one morning to find the bulldozers on the doorstep.

"This would have a deep impact on our children. I have seen other forced evictions and how hard children have taken them."

The council said they had decided direct action in the interest of legal residents was needed after communities minister Ruth Kelly said retrospective planning permission for the permanent homes that the travellers had built would not be allowed.

The judicial review into appeals against eviction by about 200 families is due to be completed in November.

The travellers are challenging Basildon Council's legal right to evict them.

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