Full Marks to Jon Austin of the Echo for his special investigation into the Traveller’s site at Crays Hill. Although it’s outside our district – in Basildon – we are sure it will interest many of our residents.
Here’s an extract:
Travellers fighting to stay at Crays Hill because they have “nowhere else to go” can today be exposed as shrewd, money-making developers.
Next month, Dale Farm could be legalised by the Government when it announces its final decision following last summer’s public inquiry.
If all 52 illegal plots gain planning permission, each will be worth around ?150,000. The camp would therefore be worth ?7.8million to plot owners.
Dale Farm originally cost traveller John Sheridan ?122,000, which he paid in cash in 2002. The site was then split up and sold to other travellers for a total of around ?600,000.
The Echo revealed last Wednesday that former traveller homes at Hovefields Avenue, Wickford, which started life as cheap green belt plots, are currently on the market for ?500,000.
Now we can exclusively reveal members of the Sheridan clan living illegally at Dale Farm are currently trying to turn farmland into legal homes at the Smithy Fen camp, Cottenham, Cambridgeshire.
Crays Hill travellers have managed to pay thousands of pounds in hard cash for land at Smithy Fen and other parts of the south east, including Hertfordshire and another part of Essex, Stapleford Tawney.
Huge profits will be possible if travellers can sell illegal plots bought for as little ?2,000 once they gain planning permission.