despite an all-party commission's recommendation today
(8 Nov) that a duty be placed on local authorities to provide
spaces for caravan parks.
Families at Twin Oaks, Ridge, near South Mimms are now
dug in waiting for Blair to act: will they get a place to go
or see their caravan site bulldozed, as happened at
Chelmsford earlier this year.
S>O>S> EVICTION TAKING PLACE
SHORTLY OF FAMILIES AT
TWIN OAKS (see below)
CHILDREN FACE TRAUMA.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR
and PROTEST RALLY
PROTEST TO COUNCIL:
> >BIG UK ETHNIC-CLEANSING DRIVE >DESTROYING HUNDREDS OF HOMES By Grattan Puxon (call 01206 523528)
> Hertsmere Borough Council,
> whose domain includes the world-famous
> Elstree film studious, is about to spend
> 250,000 Euro in an ethnic-cleansing
> operation against nomadic families living
> on their own land in the district.
> But they won't be doing the dirty work
> themselves. Hired for the job is a company
> called Constant & Co., which boasts that it
> carries out a hundred such "move-ons" every
> Spokesman at Twin Oaks caravan park
> Patrick Egan says the council has warned that
> Constant will take all the caravans and mobile
> homes and lock them in a pound. "They want
> to take our homes away," he said, "and put us
> in a hostel for the homeless."
> He is concerned that his mother, who is
> critically ill and in a wheelchair, will not survive
> such a traumatic ordeal. Her doctors says she should
> not be moved.
> The eviction at Summerwood Lane, Ridge,
> near London's M25 motorway, which could take
> place Monday (8 Nov) is only one of dozens
> now pending. In the past l8 months, more than 150
> plots on private caravan parks owned by Romanies
> in the UK have been destroyed in "direct action"
> A large-scale eviction at Smithy Fen,
> near Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, was only called
> off because a judge granted the go-ahead for a
> judicial review. South Cambridgeshire council
> is bent on destroying 22 plots there because they
> lack planning consent.
> Patrick McCarthy owns one of more than 30
> plots which have been licensed. But because his land
> would have to be crossed to reach the so-called
> "illegal" plots, the council are taking action in the
> high court to revoke his licence.
> Meanwhile, in neighbouring Bedfordshire,
> the model Romani-owned Woodside caravan park
> is again under threat. In 2002 Mid-Beds council
> hired Constant to plough up many of the 50 plots
> here, leaving the last residents surrounded by
> mud and broken paths.
> Unless an appeal to the House of Lords is
> allowed, an eviction operation could be mounted
> shortly. Some l5 plots would be "cleared" and
> families thrown back on the road.
> Cliff Codona, chairman of the National
> Travellers Action Group, who attended the recent
> VII World Romani Congress in Italy, says the
> council have already spent 1.5 million Euro
> trying to get rid of him.
> "I've been monitoring all the recent
> evictions," said Codona. "Hundreds more families
> face the same fate. This is now ethnic-cleansing
> on a big scale."
> He believes that many local councils are
> determined to get rid of Gypsies ahead of any
> reforms that the Government may bring in. A
> review of Government policy is due to be published
> Official figures show that the number of
> council-run caravn sites has dropped from 327
> to 313 since l997. At the same time, the number
> of Traveller caravans in England alone has risen
> from l2,796 to l4,362.
> In response, the NTAG and other front-line
> groups, including the National Association of Gypsy
> Women, have formed a human rights monitoring group
> to be present at and report on evictions. It has the
> support of the Trans-European Roma Federation.
> Already, written evidence and video film
> from the eviction at Meadowlands caravan park, in
> Essex, earlier this year, has been submitted to the
> Commission for Racial Equality and COHRE, the
> Geneva-based anti-eviction NGO.
> Kathy Buckland, of the NAGW, whose
> mobile home was burned during the eviction, is
> preparing to claim damages against Chelmsford
> Borough Council and Constant. Police officers have
> questioned Constant employees over the burning,
> which they believe was an act of arson.
> In six months time, a virtual village built
> at Dale Farm, near Basildon, in Essex., will come
> under threat of destruction. Growing up over
> the past 30 years from a small caravan park, the
> village now has some 1,000 residents, housed
> in bungalows, mobile-homes and caravans.
> Basildon council has issued more than
> 50 enforcement notices against individial land
> plots. Suspended last year, these notices are due
> to be executed on 13 May next year. At stake is
> a collective investment by Romanies and
> Travellers of more than 8 million Euro. A
> planning inspector has already warned that any
> attempt to evict residents from Dale Farm could
> lead to a serious civil disturbance.
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