Mr Bala Mahendran
Basildon District Council
St Martin’s Square
Basildon SS14 1DL
19 June 2009
Dear Mr Mahendran,
I have not seen you myself because I am too sick to come to meetings but I suppose you may have a grandmother like me, God bless her. I am eighty-four years old and the doctors say they can do nothing more for me. I was taken in to Basildon hospital last week but discharged myself as I want to be at home with my own people for the time I have left on this earth.
Only I’m afraid that you are going to send in the bailiffs and bulldozers and I am in the very first yard you will come to destroy. You will destroy my home and, sir, you will kill me. That is the truth.
I only have my son Dan caring for me and as Sister Cathy, from our church, will tell you he is not well himself.
I do not understand all that is going on and I have asked Grattan Puxon to write this letter for me, which he is reading over to me and I will sign with my cross. With this letter you will find my preliminary housing application form. Only I not want to be accommodated somewhere else. I do not want to be taken away from my own people, from my son Dan and my other son Jimmy, and all the family. So my first request to you is this: will you as the chief executive of the Basildon Council leave me in peace in the yard where I am living? I do not have long to live, I know that.
It has been explained to me that although there is an Enforcement Notice on this yard (I suppose sent to James Hegarty the owner) you can choose, if you pity an old lady, to delay carrying out your eviction of me and my son. Will you please do that?
You may consider that this yard is itself a special case, as it has properties on three sides of it which have full planning permission. I do not know why they are allowed but this one is not. It makes no sense.
Can you please explain to me, in clear English, why your council are so keen to have me off this little bit of so-called Greenbelt land when you are allowing people to live right next to me, on properties that border this one to the west, north and east.
Why do you want this little piece of ground? Why are you going to kill me to get it cleared? That is what I ask you, sir.
Please advice me as to whether it would help my situation if I was to make a Planning Application for this ground, which is 1 Oak Lane (East)? I only want to keep here the mobile-home, which is rented for me by Basildon council, and to be able to stay on for my life-time.
Mr Puxon, of the Gypsy Council, has explained me to that your council has been preparing its Gypsy and Traveller Site DPD and this was to be ready in July.
Has the council adopted its Traveller Site DPD? If not, when is it likely to adopt it? Will you leave be alone to live with my son at 1 Oak Lane until another site is available to which I can move? I do not wish go into a house or home. I need to be with my son and with my own family close by to help me, and be a comfort to me in my last days.
If you will not do this, I ask you what is going to happen to me and Dan? My church, which is Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, in London Road, and my parish priest Father John Glynn (who will get a copy of this letter) are offering to help me when you come to evict me.
Are you going to allow me to take up his offer of shelter in the church hall? I am very weak and will need to be moved in an ambulance. I believe the Red Cross will be willing to move me, if proper notice is given and the arrangements can be made.
Will you please tell me when you are sending the bulldozers as I am in the first yard they will break up, and I will be very frightened when they come. I am fair I will collapse.
Will you give me advance notice so that I can be moved safety to the church hall before all the eviction uproar starts? I need to know which morning you are coming with the police and all that. Will you please let me know?
I know that in the past you have issued a letter giving 28 days notice. But that does not tell me which morning you are coming so that proper arrangements can be made by the church to move me to a safe place in their hall, which has to be made ready and booked in advance for that day. Do you understand what I am worrying about here? In the past you have sent in the bailiffs without warning, breaking up people’s caravans at Hovefields Avenue. I would not be able to stand any of that.
I understand that I have the right under the Freedom of Information Act to receive from you copies of any plans the council has made or will make concerning the eviction operation and the date that operation will be carried out. I am now asking you under the Act to give me all written information on the way the eviction will be carried out and when, and also a copy of the Risk Assessment report that is made, or will be made, to cover the eviction.
Because we have trouble with the post, I want you to send copies of your answer to Grattan Puxon, of the Gypsy Council, and my solicitor Keith Lomax. I have authorized Mr Puxon and Mr Lomax to receive my letter from the council, including personal details. I enclose a copy of this authorization.
I also want you to know that when you have meetings with any delegation of Dale Farm residents I want Mr Puxon to be there as our representative, as he has been representing the Sheridans and other Travellers for 45 years. All my family, all the Sheridans, feel the same way.
I am pleased to tell you that the United Nations is helping me and I hope that you can be as good as they are. The UN Mission team, whom you met on 23 April in our church hall where I want to go for shelter if you evict me, have promised they will be there in my home to see that your bailiffs and police don’t hurt or insult me.
Good bless you,