RESIDENTS fear travellers may never be forced to move on after Basildon Council chose not to send in bailiffs for the second time.

Council bosses were given the green light to remove up to 20 caravans in Oak Lane, Crays Hill, after winning a series of High Court clashes, but appear to be stalling on moving them on.

Several caravans have been illegally parked in the lane leading to the former Dale Farm site since the £7million eviction in October 2011.

The caravans are next to the legal traveller site, but on land owned by neighbouring residents Joyce and Andrew Palmer, from Oak Road, Crays Hill, who are aged in their fifties.

The travellers lost a series of court cases because they had no legal interest in the land.

The deadline for a final challenge has passed.

As the Palmers own the land, it should be down to them to move the travellers on, but Basildon Council took on the case as it felt it owed them a duty after using their nearby field to house bailiffs during the original eviction.

The couple said they were disappointed by the lack of action, but did not want to comment further.

However, villagers are demanding answers. David McPherson-Davis, a Ramsden Crays parish councillor, said: “I want to know why the necessary action is not being taken.

“We have seen this situation drag on for 13 years and the caravans have now been parked illegally in the lane for close to three years.

“From what I understand, there are no immediate plans in place to do anything and we know from experience the longer it drags on the more chance there is of new appeals.”

The Echo understands because so much time has passed, the council will again have to get up-to-date personal information from the travellers before it uses bailiffs.

Councillor Richard Moore, responsible for planning, said: “The travellers have not applied for a judicial review.

The council is now carefully considering its options and taking further legal advice as to what is the most sensible way forward.

“In the meantime we are monitoring the situation at Oak Lane on a daily basis.

“Those who have followed the Dale Farm story will know this is a legal minefield. We will act and when we do, it will be in the best interest of local taxpayers. But that will be at a time of our choosing when we deem it is most prudent to do so.”

Grattan Puxon, a campaigner who fought to try to block the first eviction, added: “I understood it would go back to the planning inspectorate and we will be raising this when we see the Department for Communities and Local Government.

“I am glad to see the council will be making no rash decisions over further costly and traumatic evictions when the solution is to provide more sites and let people stay there in the meantime.”