It has taken Basildon Council £8 million and ten years to try and clear an illegal gypsy site. The courts are still raising technical delays but the Conservative council leader Cllr Tony Ball says:
"Today was another day when the wheels of justice continued to grind slowly forward.
"It has been good day for the Council and our local residents.
"We will be back in court on Thursday after which we fully hope to be in a position to commence removing residential structures from the vast majority of plots.
"Outstanding technical issues, such as fences and gateposts, will be dealt with separately next Monday.
"As I began by saying the wheels of justice are grinding slowly forward, the judge made it clear from the outset that such was the importance of this case that justice needed to be seen to be done.
"After ten years, if we have to wait a few more days to follow due process and get things right then that is what we will do."
Equality before the law in planning enforcement really should not be this hard. It is to the Government's credit that they have scrapped John Prescott's top down targets for gypsy sites although what would help more is repealing the Human Rights Act.
In this particular case Prescott made the situation far worse by a disastrously naive ruling in 2003 that enforcement should be delayed to two years to allow the gypsies to find an alternative site. Instead of moving out more of them moved in and the problem escalated.