TRAVELLERS are expected to leave an unused car park before work begins on a multi-million pound housing estate – despite courts letting them stay.

Gavin Callaghan, Labour leader of Basildon Council, says the group of at least ten caravans should comply with leaving the disused car park off Laindon Link, Basildon.

The council is planning on building 250 homes, shops and community facilities

costing more than £10million on the site.

But last month Basildon Magistrates Court decided not to evict the illegal encampment currently on the land due to the Covid pandemic.

Mr Callaghan said: “We are working with the travellers and talking to them on a daily basis and will keep doing so.

“I think when we need them to move off the old car park then they will comply.

“We intend to bring forward plans in the coming weeks and the site does need a lot of work with cable issues underground.

“We are committed to bringing more housing here and also retail and public sector offerings and facilities to benefit the whole borough.

“It will cost more than £10million and be a substantial sum of money.”

The camp has now been on site for more than a month after claims they broke in.

Residents raised some concerns about the site being secure and possible anti-social behaviour after the camp set up.

Council bosses said they bought the site from Homes England.

Survey plans had been submitted but have now been withdrawn before new proposals come forward.

Bosses added the surveying work is to aid the redevelopment of the site to help Basildon families get a home.

The council has fought traveller camps for decades.

In Wickford, Hovefields Avenue has become a hotspot for travellers in recent years with numerous camps cropping up.

It became a “graveyard for torched mobile homes”, according to nearby homeowners.

Two years ago council bosses were forced to turn to the High Court in order to remove travellers.

It’s nine years since bailiffs and riot police clashed with protesters and families at Dale Farm in Basildon as the eviction of the illegal travellers site finally got under way following months of legal wrangling.