Dale Farm battle continues as costs are revealed

The battle between council officials and travellers who lived at the Dale Farm site in Essex is not yet over.

Almost 50 caravans remain illegally parked on lanes and lay-bys in the Dale Farm area after Basildon Council evicted residents from the site last November.

Officials have served enforcement notices this week in a bid to have the travellers moved on again.

The news came as the cost of last autumn’s operation at the site has been revealed.

Basildon Council said it spent £4.8m on evicting the travellers after a 10-year legal struggle.

Of the total, £1.6m was spent on fighting court battles with residents at the site, who launched a series of injunctions.

In addition to that, Essex Police said their role in the eviction cost £2.4m.

The total is far lower than estimates of £18m which were suggested when tensions between council contractors and travellers were at their highest. The council had budgeted for £8m and Essex Police for £9.5m when it appeared that removing the travellers would be a long, drawn-out process.

But the former site residents are saying the money was wasted because they will not leave the area.

In an interview with the BBC, Mary Sheridan, a traveller who has stayed near Dale Farm, said: “[The council] thought we would go from Dale Farm. That we would disappear, but we haven’t.

“For all that money all they’ve done is move us 50 metres. We will stay on the lane because where else can we go?”

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