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Crunch vote due on Dale Farm evictions
COUNCILLORS will decide next month whether to spend as much as £3million evict ing hundreds of travellers from their Crays Hill campsite.
Basildon Council is planning to hold a special full council meeting on March 14 to allow members to discuss plans to clear the Dale Farm camp.
If councillors decide to go ahead, notices will then be served on the travellers.
However, the eviction itself is likely to be delayed until after the royal wedding on April 29 because many Essex Police officers will be tied up guarding the festivities.
Council leader Tony Ball said councillors should know before the meeting whether Government cash will be available to help foot the eviction.
It should also be clear if Essex Police has succeeded in securing as much as £10million from the Home Office to cover the cost of involvement.
Mr Ball, who has previously promised to resign if the eviction fails to go ahead this spring, promised: “We will continue, whether we get the funding or not.”
He said next month’s meeting would set a provisional timetable for the eviction, though it remains unclear if the actual date will be announced in advance.
After a debate, councillors will then be asked to vote on serving notices, which would then give the 96 families on the site 28 days to move and avoid forced eviction.
The meeting is due to review progress towards finding sites outside Basildon borough to which the travellers can move to avoid eviction.
Grattan Puxon, a campaigner for the travellers, said a search was still on. An application was also being prepared for a small site in Basildon. He would like the actual date of the eviction announced in advance. He claimed hundreds of people had signed an anti-eviction petition and many would form a human shield to block the way for bailiffs and police.