Fury as 1,000 travellers living on Europe's largest illegal camp leapfrog thousands of people on council house waiting list
Travellers at Europe’s largest illegal camp are to be treated as a priority for social housing because they will be considered homeless when they are evicted. Around 1,000 travellers who live at the Crays Hill camp in Essex are due to be removed from the site after losing a long-running legal battle.
The bill for taxpayers could be as much as £10million as police and council officials face having to launch a major two-week operation following concerns of violent confrontations.
Now it has emerged the travellers could have the right to leapfrog over 4,500 people on the housing waiting list in Basildon Council’s area – and have been ‘encouraged’ to apply by officials. Critics fear they might cause a logjam for urgently needed accommodation, even though they have stated they want to be moved to new caravan pitches rather than flats and houses.
The situation caused outrage among the residents of Wickford, who have endured threats, petty crimes and anti-social behaviour, as well as seeing property prices plummet, since the travellers arrived almost ten years ago.
Len Gridley, 51, who lives next-door to the camp, said: ‘They should wait their time like everyone else. The young people of Basildon have lived here all their lives and they can’t get homes.’