Archive for basildon

DALE FARM – WHISTLEBLOWER SPARKS BAILIFF COMPANY PROBE

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on Saturday, 28 November, 2009 by bristolnoborders

WHISTLEBLOWER SPARKS BAILIFF COMPANY PROBE

28/11/2009 – Allegations against a bailiff company favoured to win a huge contract for the eviction operation at Dale Farm have sparked an investigation by Basildon’s internal audit officers.

The council’s cabinet is to meet on 10 December to select one of two bailiff outfits bidding for the job of evicting some hundred families from Dale Farm and nearby
Hovefields.

Constant & Co., based in Bedford, has previously carried out such work for the district council. It has been shortled listed from eight firms which originally showed interest in the contract, believed to be worth up to two million pounds.

However, should audit officers decide there is substance to any of the more serious allegations against Constant, the matter might be referred to the council’s overview and scrutiny commission.

It is also possible, under a clause in Basildon council’s constitution, that a member of the public will request any disputed decision be called in by the commission before an eviction at either location is mounted.

Internal audit officer Jill Norton, who received the initial complaints against Constant through the lately created whistleblower service, says the issues raised are being taken very seriously.

She has further acknowledged receipt of a 26-page dossier cataloguing many alleged wrongdoings by Constant bailiffs while employed by Basildon and other local authorities.

Copies of the dossier have also been sent by Dale Farm Housing Association to Conservative, Labour and Liberal members of the cabinet.

It draws attention to a warning from Brentwood, Billericay and Wickford Primary Care Trust that a forced eviction at Dale Farm would inevitably result in trauma and injury to women and children.

Constant bailiffs ignored health and safety procedures when demolishing homes at Hovefields Drive, Wickford, in 2006, it is alleged. At the same time the firm failed to carry out a risk assessment before the operation, according to to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

“A major worry is that these bailiffs will bring heavy machinery in here,” commented a Dale Farm mother. “It’s not legal to start bulldozing with children around and we won’t allow it.”

To draw attention to their fears, residents from Dale Farm are holding a protest rally outside the Basildon Centre to coincide with the cabinet meeting.

An exhibition, depicting the ill-treatment of Roma and Travellers over the past seventy years, was prepared to mark Human Rights Day, 10 December. Elements of it will still be displayed in St Martin’s square.

However, request to mount the full exhibition in the Basildon Centre was turned down by the council.

“We were not allowed to put a question to the council’s full meeting last week,” said the same mother. “They said our request was received an hour late. But we’ll
make our voice heard at this protest and hope other people will join us.”

____________ _________

Human Rights Day
DALE FARM MOTHERS’
EVICTION PROTEST
10 December, 7.30pm
Basildon Centre,
St Martin’s Square
Basildon SS14 1DL
____________ ____

Dale Farm Alert: Baliffs to be chosen Dec 12th

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on Wednesday, 21 October, 2009 by bristolnoborders

dalefarmkids

(© Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk)

It’s just leaked out that Basildon Council’s Cabinet will meet on Saturday, December 12,to decide which out of two bailiffs companies to award the two million pound contract for the eviction operation at Dale Farm.One is Constant & Co.

Dale Farm is part of an Irish Traveller site on Oak Lane in Crays Hill, Essex which houses over 1,000 people. It is the largest traveller site in the UK and has been the subject of a evictoion and court action for years.
This is a fateful step as once they “mobilize”a bailiff force, there maybe no going back.For this reason, mothers are forming a Dale Farm Homeless Committee to organize the biggest yet demonstration outside the Basildon Centre (town hall) at noon that day.As its close to UN Human Rights Day (10 Dec – which  happens to be Richard Sheridan’s birthday)it will be a rally against decisions being made by local councils which still want to get rid of Travellers – spending million on brutal policies which solve nothing.
Dale Farm mothers are asking supporters to pull out all the stop for this one. Many children will
be coming. Can anyone help bring in a samba band – or other musicians? Anybody have contact with street threatre groups? Help making banners and posters etc? Minibuses will bring people in from Dale Farm.
Any extra help with transport? Contact with groups likely to join and help swell numbers? A meeting is taking place tomorrow (Thursday 22 Oct) of supporters at Essex University to expand on plans. So if you have any ideas, suggests, offers of help, post back today to
dale.farm@btinternet.com

DALE FARM EVICTION CONTRACT ATTRACTS NOTORIOUS BAILIFFS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on Monday, 20 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

dalefarmkids

Contact: Grattan Puxon 01206 523528

The UK’s most notorious anti-Gypsy security
firm, responsible for the brutal Twin Oaks
eviction in 2004, says it expects to take on the
biggest clearance operation ever mounted
against a village community in Britain in
modern times.

Constant & Co., which has earned tens of
millions of euro clearing Gypsies from their
own land in barely legal, hard hat-style sorties
around England, now wants the contract to
demolish Dale Farm, home to 500 Travellers
near Crays Hill, Essex.

The job, worth three million euro, would
involve removing, and in some plots smashing,
chalets and mobile-homes, and physically
forcing up to 90 families, including children,
the elderly and infirm, to leave the district,
impoverished and with nowhere legally to
live.

Along with their homes and children’s
primary school, the families stand to lose
their unique youth-club community centre and
Saint Christopher’s Chapel.

“This is ethnic-cleansing,” said one
voluntary worker who visits Dale Farm. “But
the council are trying to disguise that fact
with a lot of politically correct language.”

Because of the high cost of the work,
Basildon have been compelled to put it
out to tender in the official Journal of the
European Union. The closing date for
bids is mid-August.

In its ad the council states that the
winner bidder must ‘demonstrate a
commitment to upholding the principles
of equality and diversity legislation and
be sensitive and responsive to the
needs of people.’

However, Basildon has already
indicated it favours re-engagement
of Constant, a firm the council has already
employed for a number of small evictions.
Critics say these were conducted in a way
that flaunted EU health and safety regulations,
and resulted in the needless trashing of huge
quantities of private belongings

*//*
*/Valuable Crown Derby china and other/*
*/itms have gone missing during/*
*/some clearances/*/. /
/ /
Photographs illustrate how at Hovefields
no perimeter fencing was erected and
children were allowed in close proximity
when heavy machinery was in motion.

While the council justified its use of
s178 of the Town and Country
Planning Act to restore Greenbelt, land
at Hovefields has been left derelict.
Top-soil has been destroyed and the plots
surrounded by high earth berms.

Much of the ground is now flooded
with contaminated water from
broken cess-tanks, posing a danger
to health for children and adults who
continue to live nearby while awaiting
further Constant incursions.

CARAVANS ON FIRE

A film produced for Dale Farm
Housing Association shows caravans
on fire as bailiffs manhandle screaming
children. One plant-hire company has
discontinued renting to Constant,
branding its approach brutal.

Referring to the Twin Oaks eviction,
Justice Collins said in the High Court that
having seen a video of Constant at
work he considered the bailiffs’ conduct
unacceptable as it inevitably led to
harm to those affected.

“The council must re-consider the use of
this firm,” stated Justice Collins. He also
noted that the police had failed to curb the
excesses of Constant bailiffs.

Collins added that in cases of
serious ill-health or needs of children,
eviction would be disproportionate.
Although the right to evict has since been
upheld the conditions he attached
were adopted in a complex Court of
Appeal ruling earlier this year.

Requested under the Freedom of
Information Act to provide copies of its
obligatory Risk Assessment reports for
the Hovefields and Dale Farm evictions,
Basildon has admitted that no such
surveys have been carried out.

Jean Sheridan, a Dale Farm mother
of triplets, is fearful of the trauma bailiffs
could cause her babes. She hopes that
before Constant is ordered in she will be
able to mount a case in the European Court
of Human Rights.

“We have nowhere else to go and
my babes need medical help,” Jean
says. “They were born prematurely and
lucky to live. How will they survive the
terrors Constant will bring?”

The UK Children’s Commissioner has
asked Basildon what it intends to do to
safeguard children during demolition
and what alternate accommodation is
being offered them. No satisfactory
answer has yet been received.