Uttlesford’s town and parishes on alert from fall out of Dale Farm gypsy camp eviction

TOWN and parish councils in Uttlesford have been put on alert to gypsies moving into the area from England’s largest traveller site.

Eviction papers have been served on almost 100 families living illegally at Dale Farm in Basildon. They have until the end of August to leave or Basildon Council will enter and dismantle the camp.

Now fears have been raised over a possible “invasion” of gypsy families from the camp into the district.

Speaking at Uttlesford District Council’s cabinet meeting last Thursday, Lib Dem leader Peter Wilcock asked: “What provision is being taken to any potential invasion from the decampment of the site in Basildon?

“No-one knows where these people will go and there needs to be a plan in place if they turn up in bulk.”

The Gypsy Council has said it is unlikely that Dale Farm residents, who set up camp 10 years ago, would leave “voluntarily” from the former scrapyard site before the end of the 28-day notice, and added that they could be physically moved by police in a multi-million pound clearance operation.

However, motions are in place in Uttlesford should the camp - which is about 50 miles away from Saffron Walden High Street - be cleared.

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Council boss, chief executive John Mitchell said: “These families have 28 days’ notice to leave the site and whether they actually will or not, I don’t know.

“If it does happen I don’t think we would be looking at a mass incursion [into Uttlesford] but it could be small numbers looking to purchase land and then seeking to occupy it as their own land. That kind of transaction would be difficult to change.

“I have written to all our town and parish clerks to make them fully aware of what may happen and asked them to be on the lookout for land acquisitions.

“We are doing the most we possibly can at this moment.”