1. ITV Report

Are travellers building a new illegal site in Essex?

Hovefields in Essex where there are concerns that travellers are building an illegal site

There are fears that travellers are developing an illegal site in Essex that could be larger than Dale Farm.

It is claimed that a similar site is being built on green belt land at Hovefields in Wickford, around two miles from Dale Farm, after lorries delivered more than 600 tonnes of hardcore on Friday. Almost two-thirds of the five-acre field has been covered in asphalt.

Jill Walsh, of Hovefields Residents' Association, claims the site is large enough to accommodate 50 families.

Dale Farm in Crays Hill, near Basildon, was Europe's largest illegal travellers' site and its clearance in 2011 cost around £7 million.

Basildon Council leader Phil Turner said:

Basildon Council completely shares the frustrations and concerns of residents in the Hovefields area about recent incidents of unauthorised development.

We want to assure residents that the council is using every legal option available to it in an attempt to prevent planning breaches in the area.

– Phil Turner, Leader Basildon Council