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Traveller serves Brighton and Hove Council with equality law notice
A new age traveller claims “politically-correct” council officials are favouring Romany and Irish groups above the needs of other nomads as they are not “ethnic enough”.
Christine Alleyn, who runs three businesses from her van, has been making homeless applications to Brighton and Hove City Council for the past four years.
But she claims her ethnicity and decision to live in a vehicle means she is being continually refused housing and support.
Ms Alleyn, who builds ecowood burners and runs a solar powered cinema, has now served officials with a court notice for not complying with equality law – adding she is prepared to go to Brussels and even prison to fight the claim.
It comes as the former council equality officer faces a bill of about £13,500 from the local authority in costs after being evicted from public land.
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This was just weeks after town hall officials opened a gate to allow Irish travellers on to Wild Park, Brighton, with taxpayers forced to pay the court costs for an eviction order.
Ms Alleyn, who currently lives in her van on land just off Wilson Avenue, Brighton, said: “Politically correct Brighton council is opening sites on public parks for ethnically Romany and Irish travellers who are in Brighton on their holidays, while ethnically English New Age Travellers and other nomads who work or have children in school here are victimised for costs of evictions, and harassed from site to site.
“The council continues to refuse us basic human rights on the spurious grounds that we aren’t ethnic enough.”
The court fees relate to an eviction of about 30 vehicles from land in Brighton last summer which she jointly contested.
However, because she has strong views on privacy, Ms Alleyn refused to fill in the legal aid financial assessment form when the issue was taken to court.
After the court agreed the vans were trespassing and ordered the eviction, Ms Alleyn was told to pay costs to the council of about £8,000.
This has now risen to about £13,500.
A council spokeswoman said: “The council has won the case for repossession of their land.
“Court costs are assessed by a professional and awarded by the court as part of the legal process.”
When asked why Ms Alleyn was being pursued for court costs and Irish travellers were not, the spokesman said: “The case cost the council at least £13,000 in legal costs and it is right to seek to recover those costs when we can.
“Cases involving Irish travellers are rarely defended and so the costs are minimal being largely confined to the £175 court fee to issue the possession claim.”
According to figures revealed by The Argus earlier this year, in 2012/13 the council spent about £50,000 on legal costs relating to travellers.