Basildon Council leader Tony Ball said the Dale Farm site cannot yet be returned to green belt because the land is still owned by travellers.

Mr Ball spoke at a press conference on Monday in the Basildon Centre to mark a year on from the eviction.

Since the clearance the site has been left covered in earthworks to stop reoccupation and has been targeted by flytippers, leaving it an eyesore.

He explained that although the long-term intention was to restore the site, it should actually be down to the families who still own individual parts of the site.

He said: “It must be remembered that the six acres that made up the illegal settlement remains in the ownership of the travellers and the state of the site is their responsibility at the current time."