Churches back traveller families in Essex eviction case

By staff writers
November 17, 2008

Local churches have been backing five Irish traveller families living on an unofficial site in Wickford, Essex, who now face eviction because the land they bought is within a green zone area. They have lodged an appeal.

The travellers had lodged an application in the High Court for retrospective planning permission for the homes they established on plots they purchased some years ago, reports Independent Catholic News (

However presiding Judge Collins, who earlier in 2008 spared the families from eviction pending further research into their circumstances, has now ruled that five families must move on.

The Court of Appeal is now set to decide on 4 December 2008 whether Basildon Council can go ahead with its three million pound plan to clear travellers from the site.

Local churches of all denominations have supported the travellers' campaign to stay on their land, for humanitarian reasons.

Several of the families' children, including two special-needs pupils, are established at local schools.

A young mother living on the site, who is expecting triplets, has been advised by doctors to rest and keep to her bed to give her unborn babies the best chance of life. Several other mothers are expecting children in the New Year.

The travellers are asking supporters to join their rally outside the Royal Courts, in the Strand, London, at 11.30am on Thursday 4 December.

There is increasing concern among civil rights groups about the treatment of travellers, gypsies and Romany peoples across Europe. They have been facing increased evictions, harassment, racism and prejudice.

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