English Heritage and heritage minister John Penrose have turned down an application to list the scaffold gateway that marks the entrance to Dale Farm, the UK’s largest illegal travellers’ site.
It was revealed yesterday that residents had applied to English Heritage to gain official protection status for the barricade at the former scrap yard, which acts as a defence against bailiffs.
At the time of the application, English Heritage described it as a “highly unusual case without precedent”, adding, however, that it was “legally obliged to consider it”.
“Buildings under 30 years old are normally listed only if they are of outstanding quality, in architectural and historic terms, and under threat,” the statement read.
It has since emerged that the heritage minister has responded to the advice of English Heritage and decided not to list the structure.
Commenting on the decision, he said: “Although clearly a structure which is significant for the travellers at Dale Farm, the tubular steel, wood and rubber construction holds no special architectural or historic interest and does not therefore meet the criteria for listing.”
When news broke of the application, Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, described it as making a “mockery” of planning laws.
He told the Press Association: “If travellers or their supporters think that the scaffold barricade at Dale Farm can contribute to the rich heritage of the Basildon area then they are within their rights to apply to English Heritage to consider their application.
"Considering Dale Farm is in breach of planning regulations and with the ongoing health and safety concerns regarding the barricade, this is clearly another attempt to make a mockery of the planning process and laws of the land that apply to everyone."
Meanwhile, Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy said they will fight on: “We’re here to fight for our rights to a normal family life, for our children to get an education and for us to have security for our homes.
“The tower is all that stands between ourselves and the bailiffs. As long as it remains standing, we know that there are people outside our community who still care about our rights.”
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