William Eichler 16 October 2018

Council spent £4m clearing illegal traveller site

The local authority responsible for removing the illegal Dale Farm traveller encampment is seeking to recover the over £4m of costs incurred by the action.

Basildon Borough Council spent £4.18m clearing the camps at Dale Farm and Hovefields in 2010 and 2011.

They did not pursue debt recovery measures at the time because of a ‘lack of information’ about the landowners’ whereabouts and the low likelihood of success.

The council also decided not to acquire the land because of the liabilities they would be accepting responsibility for.

Basildon council has since placed charges on plots in an attempt to recover some of their costs.

However, to date, they have only managed to get around £2,000 back.

There were 400 people living on the illegal site in Basildon and the eviction led to 15 police officers being injured and 45 arrests being made.

A report detailing the costs will be considered by the council’s scrutiny committee tomorrow.

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