Travellers seek court ruling over ‘brick aversion’

HOMELESS travellers evicted from an illegal site will ask judges to rule that they have a right to be re-homed in caravans or offered pitches.

John Sheridan, Barbara O’Brien and Mary Flynn – who were living on the Dale Farm site near Basildon, Essex – are scheduled to seek a ruling from the Court of Appeal in London next month. Their lawyers aim to argue that Basildon Council acted unreasonably in offering only conventional flats or houses as alternatives.

A county court judge ruled in favour of the local authority following a hearing in Southend, Essex, in October 2010.

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Travellers were yesterday given permission to appeal against the county court ruling, following a preliminary appeal court hearing in London.

Alex Offer, for the three travellers, outlined arguments his clients wanted to make, at a hearing before Lord Justice Patten.

He said his clients had an “aversion” to living in “bricks and mortar” and would argue that local authorities had an “obligation” to provide “suitable” accommodation which would allow “members of the gipsy community” to continue their traditional way of life.

Lord Justice Patten granted the three travellers permission to appeal, scheduled on December 14.

Lawyers say the ruling may affect other travellers and gipsies.