Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Final legal bid over Dale Farm

Dale Farm residents outside court after lawyers failed in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the eviction of families from an Essex site
An elderly resident of the illegal travellers' site at Dale Farm in Essex has been given a final chance to challenge the planned clearance

An elderly resident is being given a final chance to challenge the clearance of the UK's largest illegal travellers' site.

On Friday, Mary Flynn, from Dale Farm near Basildon in Essex, was refused permission to go to the Court of Appeal after a judge read the case papers in private.

But a spokeswoman for the Judicial Office later announced that Mrs Flynn was renewing her last-ditch application at an oral hearing in open court on Monday - the day the clearance is due to begin - before Lord Justice Pill.

No formal "stay" has been granted to halt the clearance, and it is unclear whether Basildon Council will delay starting evictions pending the appeal hearing.

Normally local authorities do not act until legal proceedings have been exhausted.

The eviction follows a decade-long row over unauthorised plots. Although half of the site is legal, an estimated 400 people are said to be living on 51 unauthorised plots

Small numbers of Dale Farm travellers have left the site ahead of the clearance, but others have said: "We're staying put."

Residents' hopes of appeal judges overturning a High Court judge's refusal to grant a temporary injunction blocking the evictions are pinned on 72-year-old Mrs Flynn and concerns over her health.

She suffers breathing problems and uses an electric nebuliser and has been the crucial protagonist in the High Court battle.

When he refused the injunction application on August 31, Mr Justice Kenneth Parker said the only aspect which gave him some concern was medical evidence received of significant deterioration in Mrs Flynn's condition.

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