the pork-bolter - what's really going on in worthing
CAMP TITNORE 2006 Archive
Saturday December 30

Message from Protect Our Woodland!:

Despite the miserable weather the camp has been in festive mood thanks to the generosity of all those who have donated so much in every way. Even on Christmas day there was a steady stream of visitors with mulled wine, mince pies etc and good wishes.

New campers have been arriving over the last few weeks, allowing some of those who have been on site since May to take a well earned break. As the new year approaches thoughts are returning to the threat of eviction. Although we've been surprised no attempt has been made so far, we know it could happen at any time. However we are always ready to defend the camp / our home and feel secure in the knowledge supporters on the nearby estates will help us.


Tuesday December 26

As people may well have seen, the Worthing Herald's Christmas gift to the Titnore campaign was a rather negative piece in last Week's paper quoting an unnamed Tesco employee as claiming campers were spending too much money on drink and saying it was "disgraceful" to be collecting food for the site for Christmas.

This comes after a long period where the paper have seemed to be trying to pretend the camp does not exist - with several reports of people's letters supporting Titnore not being published.

Worthing eco-action has put together a letter (below) in response. It would be good if as many people as possible wrote in over the next week or two. If you don't have the time to do your own, you could always cut and paste our one and ask for your name to be appended - to increase the pressure to make them actually print it! Write to letters@worthingtoday.co.uk

Meanwhile, visitors to the camp over Christmas are reporting that all is well on site.


Letter to Editor

Sir,

A couple of weeks ago, some supporters of the Titnore Woods tree camp got together to decide what they could do for the protesters by way of a Christmas bonus.

After all, with the weather cold and damp, the days dark and the ground increasingly muddy, it was not the nicest place to be spending mid-winter.

And when others were preparing to spend a cosy Xmas indoors with their families, it only seemed fair to spare a thought for those who had bravely pledged to remain on site at Titnore throughout the festive period.

So it was decided to hold a special stall on the theme of "A Hamper for a Camper" to collect a few goodies for our friends in the woods and also remind the rest of the Worthing public that they were still there - a necessity since coverage of their struggle in the Herald seemed to have dried up of late.

The response from the public on the day was great - a mountain of food found its way to the grateful tree-dwellers, together with countless messages of support.

But the reaction from two pillars of the local establishment was not so pleasant. First of all, there was a visit from the local police threatening the volunteers with arrest for holding an "unauthorised" stall. Our great British democracy in action, yet again.

And secondly there was the less than festive attack on the campers carried in your publication on December 21.

When people give up their own time and money to do what they think is the right thing - in this case collecting food parcels for people living out rough in an environmental campaign - it is a bit of shock to be branded "disgraceful".

And yet this was the insult levelled by one Tesco shop worker ("who asked not to be named") which you saw fit to carry on page four of The Herald.

The reasoning seemed to be that it was wrong to collect festive food for the campers because this left them more of their own money to spend on drink.

And a Merry Christmas to you too, madam.

Now, as with any sizeable group of people, there are a variety of individuals at the camp. Some are hardcore vegan, some eat meat. Some like a drink and some don't touch the stuff and would not be seen dead shopping at Tesco, which is, after all, a major part of the West Durrington development plans. But any personal differences are overshadowed by the awesome scale of the task in hand - to keep the protest going into its eighth month and beyond and to halt the threatened destruction of our countryside.

The achievement so far has been remarkable and unprecedented in this town's history, although you wouldn't think so from perusing the pages of your newspaper.

Many of your readers will, like us, admire the Herald's full-blooded commitment to the vital campaign to save Worthing Hospital.

What a shame that you feel unable to find equal enthusiasm for the other great cause currently close to Worthing people's hearts - the battle to save Titnore Woods.

Yours etc


Sunday December 17

THE "Hamper for a Camper" event in Worthing town centre proved a big success on Saturday (December 16), despite efforts by the police to scupper it.

Volunteers who set up the stall to collect food and donations for Camp Titnore were threatened with arrest by a hostile police officer on the basis that the event was "unauthorised".

It was even suggested at one point that encouraging people to fill in letters to the council was in some way a criminal act which could not be allowed.

However, after lengthy discussions the campaigners refused to back down and stayed in place for several hours, receiving a huge pile of food, drink and other festive offerings from the people of Worthing.

This was taken straight down to the camp when the stall finished, to the delight of the stalwarts on site, who are remaining in the woods throughout the festive period.

They asked us to pass on their thanks to everyone who has contributed anything - not just this weekend but throughout the six and a half months.

It is support like this which keeps the battle for Titnore Woods alive!

* If you want to donate something for the camp, don't forget you can drop it off at Down to Earth health food shop in Montague Street, Worthing (west end). If you are planning to go to the camp, don't forget your wellies!


Sunday December 10

THE following press release has been issued by worthing eco-action:

“A HAMPER for a camper” is the theme of an event being staged in Worthing town centre by Titnore Woods campaigners at the weekend.

Supporters of the eco-protest in Durrington will be in Montague Place at lunchtime on Saturday December 16 asking Christmas shoppers to spare a thought for the die-hard campers who will be spending the festive season in the cold and muddy woodland off Titnore Lane.

They are asking them to donate food and drink items, preferably meat-free and dairy-free, to make up hampers that will be taken up to the camp by supporters in the town.

There will also be the chance to sign letters to the council and fill in Christmas decorations bearing messages of support for the camp, which has now been in place for more than six months.

Said Dave Phillips of Worthing eco-action: “When the protesters moved onto the site of the proposed development on May 28, nobody imagined that they would still be there in December.

“It is largely thanks to the tremendous support they have been receiving from the people of Worthing that they have been able to keep the struggle going so long.

“As most of us look forward to spending Christmas somewhere warm and cosy, surrounded by our families, we are asking people to remember the protesters who have committed to staying at the site, fighting to protect our precious countryside from the bulldozers.

“If people can’t get along to Montague Place on Saturday, or to the camp itself, they can always drop off donations of any kind at Down to Earth health food shop at the western end of Montague Street.”

* Press have been invited to a photocall and supporters are encouraged to turn up at Montague Place, Worthing, and swell the numbers at 1.20pm. Festive props and hamper donations welcome! This will take place regardless of weather conditions, under any available shelter. If it is fine, there should also be a stall in the area from around 11am.


Sunday December 3

Wood and coal for burning are among the urgent items needed by the camp protesters, along with warm and waterproof clothing, boots etc.


Tuesday November 28

TODAY Camp Titnore celebrates its half-year birthday, the protesters having first moved onto the site in West Durrington on May 28 this year. Congratulations to them all!


Sunday November 12

WORTHING people are still not to be allowed to challenge the West Durrington development at a public inquiry, it has been revealed. A letter from local groups calling for the Government to hold an inquiry, passed on to Ruth Kelly by local MP Peter Bottomley, has met with a flat 'no' from Whitehall. The news was not exactly unexpected, but still reinforces the lack of democratic scrutiny in the whole disastrous scheme.

However, there is still likely to be a considerable delay in any work actually starting on the development. Following the news that Titnore Lane should not now have to be straightened, Worthing Borough Council has asked the developers to prepare an amended planning application, without the alterations to Titnore Lane and with a T junction instead of the roundabout at the entrance to the estate. The revised planning application has to be prepared, as do the revised ecological assessment and the revised Section 106 agreement. After they have all been agreed, the full planning application still has to be considered. Said one campaigner: "I should be surprised if any construction is done in less than a year from now."

With this in mind, the campers are digging in for the long haul (both metaphorically and literally!). They badly need food, clothing/blankets and funds to see them through the dark winter months. Parcels for the camp can be left at Down to Earth health food shop in Montague Street, Worthing (west end), as well as taken to the camp. The initiative by Rob Newman (see below) has already proved a success, with an excellent initial response, we are told. With the annual feast of consumer extravagance fast approaching, Worthing people are being urged to remember the people who are prepared to live up a tree all winter to save our environment! Let's make it a Merry Christmas for the stalwarts at Camp Titnore!

If you have any ideas for raising funds or collecting donations of any kind, please get in touch, either with us us here or with POW.


Sunday November 5

COMEDIAN, author and campaigner Rob Newman is the latest high-profile name to get behind the Titnore Woods campaign. For the next few weeks the proceeds of any sales of Robert's From Caliban to the Taliban DVD are going to go to the Titnore tree camp. The DVDs are now at a special price of £5 including p and p. If anyone wants to buy one through the post all the details are up on Robert's website, www.robnewman.com or send a cheque or PO for £5 made payable to Nicky Fijalkowska to: Robnewman.com, PO Box 4458, Worthing, BN11 2WL. If people want to pay by PayPal they can send payment to mailatrobnewman.com There's also a page on Titnore on his site too now: www.robnewman.com/titnore.html. Meanwhile, warm clothes, blankets, gloves and tarps are badly needed at the camp, plus vitamins, garlic tablets etc. It's going to be a long harsh winter.


Sunday October 29

AN AMAZING five months have now been notched up in Titnore Woods and a fresh appeal has been put out for funds, rope and building materials, warm clothes, boots, and food by the campers. Minds have been focused by the onset of winter - did anyone think they would still be there by now? - and supporters are urged to do all they can to help. Many thanks to all those who have already done so. Meanwhile, the disappearance of leaves from the trees (nothing to be concerned about - it happens every year!) will increase the possibility of eviction action.


Sunday October 22

WITH wet and cold weather upon us, supplies of dry and warm clothing, including socks, are needed by the campers. With the lack of any eviction action over the last two months, it looks as if the landowners may be hoping the winter will drive off the campers, or at least weaken them to the point they are easily evicted. If this development is to be defeated, it is crucial that this does not happen and that they are able to remain there until next spring to stop any work that may eventually be give the go-ahead by the council. So please keep up your support for both camps and the dedicated people who are living there - it is no easy option to be living out in the woods at this time of year, as you can well imagine!


Sunday October 15

NEARLY seven weeks after the eviction order was approved by the High Court, the camp is still there. And they still badly need support from sympathisers - see September 24 for list of useful donations. Meanwhile, local media have this week been reporting on the protest last week and on the support being given to the campaign by Body Shop founder Anita Roddick.


Sunday October 8

YESTERDAY'S mass protest walk saw 100 or so people stride up from Durrington station to Camp Titnore, where they were greeted with guided tours of the two tree camp protest sites and invited to take part in workshops throughout the afternoon. The march set off promptly at around 2.15pm (too promptly for some latecomers!), following a press photocall and headed up the road from the station forecourt to The Strand, where it turned left through the Maybridge estate. It then turned right up Limbrick Lane, to the junction with Palatine Road, then crossed the Littlehampton Road and headed up Yeoman Road and on through the West Durrington estate to Varey Road, Fulbeck Avenue and the Titnore site. The sun was shining and there were many toots and thumbs-up of support en route.

The positive mood was enhanced by the fact that the police left the protest completely alone. Maybe they have at last got the message that these are invariably peaceful affairs and that local people expressing their opinions on local matters do not need to be treated like hooligans or criminals... Overall, the message is that the campers and supporters have not been fooled by Worthing and West Sussex councils' half-hearted suggestion that the road straightening "may" not now take place and are continuing to oppose the access road through the woods, which the authorities never mention, and of course the whole environment-wrecking development.

* Meanwhile, the fight to save Titnore Woods has received a boost with Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, declaring her support for the campaign in a message to protesters.


Wednesday October 4

ALL quiet at the camp as campaigners prepare for Saturday's mass protest walk.


Tuesday September 26

CLIMBING firm Highline Access has denied being hired to evict Camp Titnore. An email to campaigners read: "My name is Paul Cooper and I am the co-director of Highline Access in Bristol. I recently spoke to James Mutley, who I believe is the head of the Titnore Protest, in regards to our company being employed to evict the protesters from the trees. Please let us clear the air- we have never been approached by any one person or entity with regards to any eviction at Titnore. The first and only time we have heard of this was when I spoke to Mr. Mutley roughly three weeks ago. Our company is not nor will we be involved in any eviction. In fact, we have told Mr. Mutley that we would be willing to consult with the protestors suggesting ways they might stay in the trees. With this being said, would you please cease using our company or reference to our company in regards to any eviction. In fact, it would be nice if you could please inform all interested parties that we are not involved. We wish you all the luck in the world with your endeavour and fully support your reasons for doing so. There are far too many giant supermarkets and mean-spirited, badly designed housing developments in Britain already. Save the woodlands! Regards, Paul Cooper."


Sunday September 24

A call has gone out for more non-perishable food at the camp - stuff in tins that can be kept back for any eviction stand-off. Preferably veggie or vegan. Also AAA batteries, toilet paper, sawdust (for compost loos), wood rope and, with wetter and cooler weather on the way, warm clothing, wellies etc. On Friday a group of seven very burly policemen visited the site, armed with video cameras and a tough-guy attitude. Highlight was the threat to use pressure points (intense pain) on children in any eviction. What lovely chaps they are.


Wednesday September 20

Excellent news. It looks as if the Titnore campaign has won a first battle in the war against the development. The following has appeared on the Worthing Herald website (www.worthingtoday.co.uk):

WORTHING Council has announced more than 200 trees threatened by the controversial West Durrington development could be saved. James Appleton, Worthing Council's Assistant Director of Planning, revealed on Tuesday afternoon that West Sussex County Council, responsible for road access to the development, was no longer insisting the 875-home plans include the straightening of a sharp bend in Titnore Lane.

He said the change of heart came after receiving government guidance on rural road schemes and environmental impact.

In an unscheduled, "urgent" address to Worthing Council's planning committee, he said officers would now ask the consortium behind the development to submit a new application with the existing bend near South Lodge - and more than 200 trees - intact.

He said: "The consortium clearly has a current planning application that it seeks to be determined but it has indicated to officers today it would be welcome the opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of any roadworks.

"There is the potential for saving over 200 trees with this amendment."

"Obviously it's of interest to the town's many hundreds of people who objected to the application."

It's unclear yet what this news may mean to the eco-protesers who have been engaged in a tree-top-and-tunnel-based protest against the scheme since late May.

But the news may well be of greater significance to the Worthing Society and its threat to take Worthing Council to a judicial review over the future of Titnore Lane.

For the full story, see this week's Herald.

Next fight is to stop the access road crossing the woods where the camp is sited. The pressure is clearly paying off and we must keep it up - that includes a big turnout for the protest on Saturday October 7!


Sunday September 17

ANOTHER weekend passes and the camp is still very much in business... Food donations for Camp Titnore can now be made in central Worthing, thanks to Down to Earth organic and natural healthfood shop. The shop is at 175 Montague Street (towards Rowlands Road, nearly opposite the Co-op) and is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday.


Monday September 11

AN ENERGETIC expansion bid has been launched by the Titnore Woods campers, with eviction still not attempted. Urgently needed is more timber and polyprop rope (6mm is best) and tarpaulins for tree houses etc, plus, on a more mundane level, supplies of toilet paper and real coffee.

If eviction takes place, supporters are being asked to go as soon as possible to the camp, congregating in Fulbeck Avenue, Durrington, if access is barred. Then on the first Saturday after any eviction there will be a protest against eviction and against development. Fulbeck Avenue, Durrington. 12 noon.

Regardless of the eviction situation, there will be a "mass moblisation" for all supporters of the camp and opponents of the development on Saturday October 7. Gather 2pm at Durrington station to descend (or ascend?) en masse on Titnore Woods. No surrender!


Saturday September 9

THE latest update is... nothing! In this case no news is good news as the camp remains in place and has now overtaken the 100 days mark. Well done to the diehards of Titnore Woods! The eviction alerts below do, of course, remain in place.


Wednesday August 30 (9.30pm)

WITH eviction now looking extremely imminent at Camp Titnore in Worthing, information has been gained on the firms who will be trying to force the protesters off the ancient woodland they are trying to protect. Today (Wednesday August 30) there was a lot of police activity in the area around the site and protesters are calling for people to get down to the camp NOW to help them defend their occupied land, with the appeal lost and the go-ahead given to clear the site.

The involvement of supermarket giant Tesco in the development has been known all along - it wants to build a massive new store next to the 875-home estate and it is rumoured that the disastrous road widening in Titnore Lane has been arranged purely for its delivery lorries coming off the A27. Another coincidence was that the legal papers served on the camp all turned up in special plastic bags marked "Tesco".

And it has now emerged that the eviction will be handled, again coincidentally, by the same two firms used by Tesco in its eviction of the Shepton Mallet anti-Tesco protest site. The bailiffs are Sherforce, based in Braintree, Essex, tel 0845 890 9205, email enquiries@sherforce.net, website www.sherforce.net They have apparently never handled a site involving tunnels before and people might want to ask them how they propose to do so. The specialist climbers being used are Highline Access of Bristol (tel 0870 0435531). [NB: THIS HAS BEEN DENIED BY HIGHLINE - SEE SEPTEMBER 26 ENTRY]

Titnore protesters have invited the bailiffs to a health and safety meeting, as is standard procedure in many protest sites, but they were not interested.


Wednesday August 30

There are worrying signs of activity around the site which is leading campers to fear an eviction may be attempted early tomorrow morning. Locals are urged to keep their eyes and ears open. See below for full alert.


Tuesday August 29

Today the appeal against the eviction order was lost in the High Court, despite the magnificent efforts of the Advisory Service for Squatters, defendant James Mutley, local volunteers and barrister Hugo Charlton, who stepped in at very short notice to represent the camp. The legal sitation is now that the camp could be evicted at any time, though it is not known how soon an eviction may actually be attempted.

1. Please bring emergency food supplies to the campers, so they can stay up in the trees as long as possible. Plus polyprop rope and other handy supplies. They also welcome all supporters wishing to join them at this crucial stage.

2. Please keep an eye out for any signs of impending eviction (heavy machinery, police vans etc). Early morning dog walkers are encouraged to head to the Titnore area! Please phone the camp on 0780 4245324 the moment you see anything.

3. If you hear that eviction has started (a likely first posting is on the newswire at South Coast Indymedia) please try to get down there if possible and also alert anyone else you know who would be interested. Supporters who can't get onto the site will gather in Fulbeck Avenue, where media will also be directed.


Sunday August 27

A CALL-OUT for help has been made by the Camp Titnore protesters, who fear an eviction attempt is likely to be made this week. On Tuesday morning an appeal hearing is to be held into the eviction order issued by the High Court in London. And if that is lost, it is possible the High Court bailiffs with their specialist climbing teams and cherry pickers, backed by police, could move in straight away - either later that day or early on Wednesday morning. This suspicion was strengthened on Saturday when a police helicopter hovered over the camp for some time, clearly assessing numbers on site. Those with experience of other sites say this usually happens a couple of days before eviction. Indeed, the helicopter also visited Camp Titnore two days before the original court hearing, on July 27, at which the starting pistol could well have been fired for eviction itself, had it not been for the unexpected leave to appeal. Protesters have vowed to stay in the tree camp to the bitter end, deploying "passive resistance" to the small army of hired thugs expected to be sent in against them. Anyone who can help is urged to get down to the camp in time for the possible eviction. The authorities are not likely to notify protesters of the exact eviction time in advance! Again, please send in those phone numbers for emergency notification!


Tuesday August 22

The appeal hearing for the camp is on Tuesday August 29 and after that it is possible eviction could begin at any time. It is obviously important that we know about this as soon as possible and react to it with a show of support for the campers.

Could we ask all supporters to:

1. Keep their eyes and ears open for any signs of impending eviction (heavy machinery, police vans etc).

2. Consider how they will find out about, and spread the word regarding, any eviction. If possible send us a phone number to be put on a list of people to be contacted in a hurry. It would be even better, if you were then able to contact other people yourself and thus spread the word quickly and efficiently. We should aim to have this phone tree set up by the start of next week.

3. Get up the camp or the vicinity of the camp as soon as possible if any eviction starts. The process will take more than one day, so there should be time for most supporters to make an appearance. Provisional "protest zone" if the camp cannot be reached is Fulbeck Avenue, Durrington, to which media will be directed.

Latest info will be available at the Worthing Alliance meeting on Thursday August 31 (next week), where there should also be a short video about some tree-saving efforts Down Under.

Again, please send in those phone numbers!


Saturday August 12

Today two successful protests were held in support of the tree camp. First, some 50 cyclists, with police escort, rode en masse from Goring station to Worthing Pier, via Titnore Lane. Then a larger protest of around 200 gathered at Worthing Pier and embarked on an impromptu march up South Street and Chapel Road, to the Town Hall, where they were addressed by campaigners and tree campers. The message was clear - the fight goes on.


Friday August 11

An appeal was successfully lodged with the High Court against the eviction order obtained by the Somersets against the tree camp. Thanks to all who helped raise the cash for the fees! Camp representatives also appeared before a judge and won a stay of execution on the eviction until the appeal is held on Tuesday August 29. So the camp is still very much in business and needs your support!


DIRECTIONS:

The camp is in woods just north of "Somerset Lake", a fishing lake east of Titnore Lane. Easiest access is from Fulbeck Avenue, off Titnore Way. Take the path at the far east of Fulbeck Avenue, then turn left until there is a large gap in the hedgerow on the left, opposite a cleared square of ground on the right, and cross right over to the far side of the field, keeping the clump of trees to your left.

It can also be reached via the car park at Tesco's in Durrington, which is served by no 3 and 4 buses from Worthing central railway station. Basically head straight on from the entrance to the fields at the back end of the supermarket car park, reaching the gap in the hedgerow mentioned above.

Nearest railway station is Goring by Sea on the main South Coast line with direct trains from Brighton, Portsmouth and London.

There is a camp phone - 0780 4245324.


Archive

High Court Appeal - Appeal!

IT IS going to cost several hundred pounds, at least £400, for the Titnore campers to lodge an appeal against the possession order granted in the High Court on Thursday July 27. And the deadline is Friday August 11. This means there is no time for donations to come in by cheque or through the post. However, anyone who can help with a cash donation, no matter how small, can now do so at Henry House Hydro Pool, 189 Heene Road, Worthing (near junction with Tarring Road). If the appeal cannot be lodged, the eviction is likely to start very soon, so please help if you can! You can now also donate to Titnore Woods on the internet, thanks to the Bardic Arts website. Donate here


Campers to fight on!

TITNORE tree campers have vowed to continue their legal fight for occupation of woodland threatened with the chop at West Durrington. At a High Court hearing on Thursday July 27, senior official Master Turner gave them leave to appeal against his decision to grant a possession order to landowners Fitzroy and Clem Somerset. They now have until 4pm on Friday August 11 to lodge their appeal - the day before a planned day of solidarity protests in Worthing.

The main point of contention at the civil hearing was whether the High Court had jurisdiction to hear it - such matters are usually dealt with by county courts. The Somersets were claiming they could go to High Court because there was "a substantial risk of public disturbance or of serious harm to persons or property which properly require immediate attention”. The defendants from the camp denied this was the case, pointing to the peaceful nature of their protest and their belief in non-violent direct action. But Master Turner found that the prospect of "passive resistance" to eviction, involving people in treetop positions, fulfilled the criteria and he compared the situation to the protests against the Newbury Bypass in the 1990s. He said the removal of protesters would be "extremely expensive" and "it will require what are known as cherry pickers, the use of chainsaws to cut away trees" and "will obviously go on for several days".

On the matter of the immediacy, he said: "The longer this occupation continues, the more expensive it all becomes and the more difficult to evict those on the land". Master Turner added that the county court bailiffs did not have the financial resources or the expertise and skills to carry out such an eviction, while the High Court bailiffs were "capable of planning a properly organised exercise".

Earlier in the hearing, Mr Jones, counsel for the Somersets, said the matter needed to be dealt with urgently through the High Court because in September the period for starting a judicial review against planning permission for the development would expire. It was hoped to start work on the 875-home estate as soon as possible after that point, he said.

Added Mr Jones: "This is, for the claimants, a matter of pressing concern and a matter which involves substantial amounts of money."

Meanwhile, Worthing Borough Council was yesterday threatened with a Judicial Review - possibly in the High Court - that would be based on the decision of the Development Control Committee to recommend the approval of alterations to Titnore Lane, as part of its decision to grant outline planning permission for the development at West Durrington. The council have been told that the evidence submitted to their Development Control Committee, and presented at its meeting on March 28th, was defective in five main areas.

Barristers acting for the claimant, The Worthing Society, have stated that if legal proceedings are required, a quashing order will be sought from the Court quashing the grant of planning permission WB/04/00040/OUT together with an order for costs.


Wednesday July 26 - police dirty tricks

ONE day before the High Court hearing which could lead to an eviction order for the camp, police have resorted to dirty tricks in what is now clearly a concerted campaign against the campers. Whatever happened to the impartial community policing approach they have been presenting to the media?

Today's little piece of political policing saw campers told by building supplies firm Travis Perkins in nearby Patching that they were no longer prepared to take their money! This was because some non-political cops had visited the firm and told them the campers were "extremists" and they should not sell them anything! The Sussex Police helicopter was also sent to circle the camp this afternoon, for no obvious reason. Campers have made a request for as many people to spend time at the site as possible, from tomorrow, Thursday, afternoon onwards. Nobody knows when an eviction might be attempted, but it seems the police and the Guardian security goons are all spoiling for a fight and just can't wait to crush the spark of resistance that has been burning so brightly in Titnore Woods.

Meanwhile, opponents of the development have revealed they were all videoed by the police when they attended last week's Worthing Borough Council meeting. Is it now criminal behaviour to attend local authority meetings?


Monday July 24 - police assault camper

THUGS from Sussex Police have once again forced their way onto the peaceful Camp Titnore protest site, assaulting one of the campers in the process. The new invasion happened today (Monday July 24), following a similar incursion on Wednesday last week and the ten officers who turned up video-recorded the camp and its residents.

Police also said they will now be returning to the camp regularly, with the same intimidatory tactics. The assault occurred when one of the campers legitimately refused to allow police access to the hut which is legally his home and was physically pushed over. Official complaints to the police are being made about this outrageously heavy-handed behaviour.

People may recall a newspaper report in The Argus on Tuesday May 30 quoting the local police chief as saying the camp was legitimate. This stated: "Worthing District Commander Jason Taylor said officers served notice for their removal on Sunday evening as a precautionary measure. He said there were no plans to remove the protesters unless any offences were committed. He said: "As far as the police are concerned we have a situation which is, at the moment, legitimate. People are protesting lawfully and are not causing particular problems. They're causing problems for the landowner and he can go to court - but at this stage I'm not going to endanger the protesters or people in the area by enforcing the removal of people"."

So what has happened since then? A political change of heart? Orders from even further up the chain of command?

The police do not seem to have any bona fide reason for visiting the camp, as far as law enforcement is concerned. But today also saw court papers served on the campers by Clem and Fitzroy Somerset, the landowners, as part of a civil process regarding land ownership which should have nothing to do with the police. These papers were in fact issued on July 12, with a mysterious 12 days elapsing before they found their way into the campers' hands. The delay means the protesters now have only three days to go through the 100-plus pages of legal paperwork and prepare for a court case - which is not to be held locally but at the High Court at the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand, London, at 11.30am on Thursday July 27.

Anyone who can offer them some legal help is urged to contact the camp on 0780 4245324.

Sussex Police have an area on their website where they seek feedback from the public. If anyone wishes to comment on their behaviour they can go to http://www.sussex.police.uk/npt/worthing/feedback.asp


Wednesday July 19 - police barge into camp

POLICE today (Wednesday July 19) invaded the Titnore Woods protest camp at Durrington. Eight uniformed officers entered the squatted area of woodland, despite each being individually warned by the protesters that to do so would be trespass. They then moved all around the site of the peaceful eco-camp with video cameras, filming protesters' homes and the tree defences they have been putting together. No court papers have even been served on the campers yet by the landowners, let alone an eviction order granted, so the protest site remains completely legal. Fears have now been raised that police were gathering intelligence for an illegal eviction of the site, without the proper court process.

Said one of the campers: "We have been getting on well with the local police and we cannot believe what happened today. They just barged their way in. We are putting in an official complaint." The local police visiting the open day at the camp on Saturday told protesters that they regarded them as part of the Durrington community. Is this how Sussex Police normally treat the local community,then - forcing their way into their homes with neither permission nor a search warrant?

Report and video

New Titnore website


Bully tactics fail to stop open day

TITNORE Woods landowner Clem Somerset employed private security guards with video cameras to try and scare visitors away from the protest camp's open day on Saturday (July 15). The uniformed staff from Ferring-based Guardian Facilities also tried to hand out slips of paper warning people they were trespassing, adding: "If you choose to enter this land, you do so entirely at your own risk." Guardian is the security firm also involved in trying to stiffle opposition to the EDO weapons parts factory in Brighton. But the move failed to intimidate camp supporters, a steady flow of whom turned up throughout the day to visit the camp and try their hand at various skills, such as making benders (shelters) and bows and arrows.

With public support for the camp in Worthing, West Sussex, very strong, it has also been announced that a Day of Action in support of Camp Titnore is to be staged on Saturday August 12. A critical mass cycle ride has been called by Bikes Against Bulldozers, gathering at 12 noon at Goring-by-Sea railway station (main line between Brighton and Portsmouth). And at 2pm that afternoon there will be a town centre protest at Worthing Pier.

The battle to save Titnore Woods from a massive 875-home housing estate, road widening and associated new Tesco hypermarket has been waged locally for around five years. On May 28 this year, with final planning permission looming, protesters moved onto the site in a dawn manoeuvre and set up a treetop protest camp.

* Protect Our Woodland is urging supporters to attend Worthing Borough Council's planning meeting at 2.30pm on Tuesday July 18. On the agenda is the council's Masterplan for Worthing, including the future of the West Durrington site and this could be a great opportunity to express opposition to the scheme. The meeting is at the town hall in Chapel Road, Worthing.


Public meeting a massive success - open day next!

MORE than 100 people packed into a vibrant public meeting in Worthing on Thursday night, July 6, to show their support for the Titnore Woods tree camp. The function room at the Charles Dickens pub in Heene Road was full to overflowing, as the huge levels of public backing for the campaign against the West Durrington development became clear.

Said Dave Phillips of worthing eco-action, which organised the event: "We were totally overwhelmed by the numbers of people that turned out for this. I think the council and developers have really underestimated the levels of opposition to their plans for Titnore Woods. We were also impressed by the wide variety of people who attended - they really did come from all age groups and all walks of life."

The supporters heard informative speeches by local historian and former county councillor Chris Hare, Chris Todd of the South Downs Campaign, and also by local campaigners. But the biggest applause and cheers were reserved for the young members of the tree camp themselves, whose occupation of the threatened woods clearly had the enthusiastic support of all those present.

The campers also issued an invitation to the audience to join them at an open day at the camp on Saturday July 15. Starting at 12 noon, this will feature workshops on bender making, camp cookery and other practical skills, as well as a talk on anarchism, the philosophical basis of the direct action movement.


Monday June 26

TODAY'S wetter weather has reminded the campers of something they are going to need over the coming weeks and months - boots (of any kind). If you have some spare, please drop them over to the camp or arrange for them to be picked up locally. Camp phone - 0780 4245324


Sunday June 25

FOUR weeks have now been notched up by the protest camp. A call has gone out for any spare video cameras - they don't have to be up to date or anything - to have on site to record any attempts at eviction or intimidation. There is also a need for fresh vegetables for the communal meals.


Wednesday June 21

ARE landowners the Somersets resorting to dirty tricks to try and force the protesters out of the woods? The Argus reports today they were trying to blame the campers for a digger being driven into a pond some distance from the camp. Needless to say, the camp knows nothing of this incident and would hardly set about polluting the environment it is there to protect! This was obviously clear to Sussex Police, who told the paper: "The finger has been pointed at the protesters, but if they are environmentalists it seems unlikely they would want to do that."

A certain tension as a result of the allegations was increased today by the police helicopter hovering very low over the camp. There was also a visit by environment officers, accompanied by police.

A report in local newspaper The Worthing Guardian at the weekend quoted Worthing Council's assistant director of planning James Appleton as saying final outline permission for the development was "two to three weeks away", with an agreement envisaged between landowners, council and developers.

A public meeting is to be held in support of Camp Titnore. It will be at 7.30pm on Thursday July 6 at the Friends Meeting House in Mill Road, West Worthing. Supporters are urged to come along - and bring their friends.


Saturday June 17

LATEST additions to the wish list - bow saw blades, paraffin, thermos flasks, solar powered lights, builders' nets. Meanwhile, supplies of polyprop rope (8mm, 10mm and 12mm) are very welcome as the camp expands.


Friday June 16

SUPPORTERS of Camp Titnore travelled to Crawley, to the offices of Taylor Woodrow, one of the three property developers behind the West Durrington scheme. They unfurled a banner outside the building then went into the reception area and handed over a letter, mounted on tree-shaped card, addressed to chief executive Iain Napier.

The letter stated: "You should know that the protesters are very determined and also very well connected. Do not expect opposition to the development to simply melt away, under any circumstances. It is, in fact, likely to intensify.

"In light of this, we feel you may consider it would suit your company's interests to withdraw your involvement in the proposed development. In terms of spiralling costs, inconvenience and sheer bad publicity for Taylor Woodrow, we would suggest that continued collaboration with this hugely destructive and unpopular scheme would be a dramatic own goal for your business."


Tuesday June 13

THE camp is now well established and growing in size and efficiency. There is now a two-storey tree house with fully fitted carpet! Messages of support continue to flood in from near and far. With the crucial settling-in phase now completed, there is growing confidence that Camp Titnore is here to stay for the long term. Keep the support coming and this development can still be halted!


LATEST UPDATE

8pm, Tuesday June 6

A NEW website for Camp Titnore was launched today - www.myspace.com/camptitnore


LATEST UPDATE

11pm, Monday June 5

THE MOOD is very positive in the camp as the ninth day of on-site protesting is completed. Current priorities on the wishlist (see below) are still large beams of wood and 10mm polyprop rope, plus chains and D-locks. Paints and materials for banner making are also requested, plus citronella (mosquito repellant!) and tea tree oil. Loads of straw would also be useful for laying on pathways (so it doesn't have to be particularly fresh).


LATEST UPDATE

Monday June 5 - new Press Release from Protect Our Woodland

TITNORE campaigners have accused Worthing's two MPs of "acting like cowards" by keeping silent on the issue. They say it is "appalling" that, as the treetop protesters celebrated their first full week occupying the threatened woods at West Durrington, neither of the borough's elected representatives had managed to find anything at all to say about the latest dramatic turn of events.

Said John Clark of Protect Our Woodland! (POW!): "We know that both these politicians have expressed an interest in similar matters in the past. "Peter Bottomley likes to be known for his concern for animal welfare, while Tim Loughton was very eager to be associated with the successful campaign to stop housing development on the countryside behind Beeches Avenue in Broadwater.

"But when it comes to this major local controversy, now attracting national and even international attention because of the protest camp, they have suddenly come over all shy.

"This is, quite frankly, appalling. The pair of them are acting like cowards. The people of Worthing have a right to hear what their MPs think about the threat to Titnore Woods.

"If they support the protest, then their voices will add to the strength of the campaign and make it more likely to succeed.

"If they oppose the protest, and support the development, then why have they not had the courage to say so? Their constituents have a right to know where they stand."

Mr Clarke said he personally suspected the MPs were opposed to the protest, but were unwilling to say so because they realised the campers had the support of the vast majority of Worthing residents.

He said: "The protesters in Titnore Woods have really been overwhelmed by the positive response from locals and the media. "It seems that everybody's talking about it and I have yet to hear anyone say they support the views of the Somerset family and the property developers.

"This is really sending a clear and powerful message to the powers-that-be at Worthing Town Hall and in London - Worthing does not want this development!"

POW! has this week been urging its supporters to write to Worthing Borough Council urging it not to give the final seal of approval to the development, in the light of the massive support that has materialised for the protesters (1).

It is also suggesting that the council convene emergency talks with the landowners, the Somerset family.

POW! says the council should urge them not to sell the land to the property developers, but instead to sell or donate the woods to a body such as the National Trust "which could protect and preserve this valued local landscape for future generations of Worthing people".


LATEST UPDATE

7am, Sunday June 4

AS DAWN broke this morning, the tree camp protesters notched up their first whole week in Titnore Woods. Well done to everyone involved. This is just the start!


LATEST UPDATE

11pm, Thursday June 1

PROTESTERS at the camp said this evening they were totally delighted with the support they were receiving from local people. Please keep the visits coming. Most needed at the moment are large beams of wood. Also on the wish list are woodchip, sawdust, knife sharpener, harnesses/carabiners, beelays/climbing rope, batteries, credit for camp phone (0780 4245324), waterproof clothes, Marmite, first aid kit, herbal tea and funnel. Financial donations can be made at the camp (ring number above if you can't find it!) or by sending a cheque payable to "The Porkbolter" to PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ - we will pass on the cash ASAP.

Support the tree camp on Saturday (June 3) from 11am in Montague Place, Worthing town centre. Helpers needed.


LATEST UPDATE

8pm, Wednesday May 31

CAMPERS are preparing for their fourth night in the woods. Supporters are visiting the site and bringing some supplies - but more are badly needed (see below).

It has emerged that yesterday landowner Clem Somerset sent his farmhands to spray muck on the fields next to the camp - to irritate the protesters or to deter visitors? It didn't work, in any case. Meanwhile, there was an amusing incident involving a police car getting stuck in the mud...

Latest press coverage includes today's West Sussex Gazette and a double-page picture spread in today's Argus.


8pm, Tuesday May 30

LATEST UPDATE

POLICE appear to have backtracked on their claim that the Titnore tree protesters were acting illegally and would be evicted without civil court proceedings.

The eco-activists occupied the woods on Sunday morning to try and halt the destructive West Durrington development, including a 875-home estate, new Tesco superstore and road widening. On Sunday evening police delivered written warnings saying they would be evicted under legislation normally used against travellers.

But a report in The Argus today (Tuesday May 30), quoting the local police chief, states: "Worthing District Commander Jason Taylor said officers served notice for their removal on Sunday evening as a precautionary measure. He said there were no plans to remove the protesters unless any offences were committed. He said: "As far as the police are concerned we have a situation which is, at the moment, legitimate. People are protesting lawfully and are not causing particular problems. They're causing problems for the landowner and he can go to court - but at this stage I'm not going to endanger the protesters or people in the area by enforcing the removal of people"."

The camp has already attracted widespread media interest, including two articles in The Argus, the lead slot on Monday night's BBC South Today TV news, items on Southern FM and BBC Southern Counties radio, a piece on The Sun's website and even an article on the website of the Orlando Sentinel in Florida.

Reaction from the media, as from the Worthing public, has been positive. The same issue of The Argus declared in an editorial comment that it was "refreshing" to see "Titnore Wood dissenters standing up to the Establishment". It added: "It appears this treetop demonstration is being conducted lawfully and this can only be a good thing for democracy."

Tonight the protesters were appealing for "loads and loads" more 10-12mm polypropylene rope, urgent financial donations and supplies of vegan food.


9am, Monday May 29

LATEST UPDATE

POLICE did not return during the night. The protesters are asking for people to come and bring them a wheelbarrow, more tarpaulins, polyprop rope, climbing harnesses and 100mm nails. But most of all they need PEOPLE there to back them up.


10pm, Sunday May 28

POLICE THREATEN CAMP

POLICE returned to the camp at around 8pm and announced that, under legislation normally deployed against travellers, they had the power to clear the site. They said the campers had an hour to vacate the woods before they returned to enforce their order. Campers' possessions were hurriedly lifted into the trees and the protesters retreated into the high branches as night fell.

Tomorrow is a bank holiday. If at all possible, please consider going to the camp early in the morning - from dawn. Bring video cameras or cameras if you can get hold of them, or otherwise just be there to witness what happens. See below for directions.


6pm, Sunday May 28

TITNORE WOODS CAMP SET UP!

A TREE TOP protest camp in ancient Sussex woodland has been set up.

Despite the earlier threat of an illegal eviction, by Sunday evening it was still there and growing in size. The protesters have occupied part of Titnore Woods in Durrington, Worthing, in a brave bid to halt the massive planned housing development and road widening.

They moved onto the land off Titnore Lane early on Sunday May 28 in an audacious dawn operation. The landowners, the Somerset family, turned up during the morning to tell them to leave and have already draughted in Mark Lynch of Guardian Guards security, notorious for his intimidation of peace protesters at the Brighton EDO weapons parts factory.

Luckily the protesters had already built tree house structures, meaning a quick and easy eviction was out of the question.

Police also arrived at the camp during the morning and later the Sussex Police helicopter was circling the site. Locals from the nearby estate have been visiting the protesters and voicing their support.

As a result, the Somersets have been digging ditches and erecting barbed wire fences to try and keep out the supporters.

It is quite clear to most Worthing people that something had to be done to stop Worthing council and the developers getting away with this horrific 875-home scheme, with damaging associated road widening.

Having seen all the efforts by campaigners ignored by the council and the government, which refused to hold a public inquiry, some people got together and decided it was time to take action.

We urge all supporters to do what they can to back the campers - it takes a lot of guts and determination to do what they’re doing. What we need is a massive show of support from the people of Worthing. Let’s make it clear to the powers-that-be that while most of us can’t physically be with them up there in the woods all day and night, we are with the campers in spirit!

This is our last big chance to really get across the power and size of our opposition to the development. Let’s make it quite clear to the bullies in the town hall and the corporate boardrooms that it’s not just a few dozen protesters they’re up against - it’s thousands of Worthing people determined to play our part in stopping the Titnore devastation. Here’s how you can help:

* Moral support. Just popping in to say ‘hello’ is important.

* Practical help. Are you a dab hand with a hammer or a spade? Want to help improving, decorating or securing the camp?

* Gifts. Stuff like wood, blue rope, nails, food (preferably not meat or dairy), fresh water and so on.

* Physical support. It is still very possible that an illegal and violent eviction of the camp may be attempted. Can you spare a few hours on-site?

* Voice your support. There will probably be criticism of the protest voiced by politicians in the local media. Write to the papers to say you support the camp! Phone the local radio stations!

* Spread the word. Tell your friends, family and neighbours. Send an email to everyone in your address book! Get texting or phoning.

* Office space. The protesters are appealing for a dry indoor space in the area to use as an office - preferably with a phone line.

* Financial support. Many thanks to those who have already made a contribution - without you this would not have been possible. But there will obviously continue to be costs to be met to keep the effort going. How about organising a fundraising jumble sale or coffee morning?

* Join the camp! Got some time on your hands? No reservations are necessary. Just turn up with a sleeping bag and stay as long as you like!

DIRECTIONS:

The camp is in woods just north of "Somerset Lake", a fishing lake east of Titnore Lane. Easiest access is from Fulbeck Avenue, off Titnore Way. Take the path at the far east of Fulbeck Avenue, then turn left until there is a large gap in the hedgerow on the left, opposite a cleared square of ground on the right, and cross right over to the far side of the field, keeping the clump of trees to your left.

It can also be reached via the car park at Tesco's in Durrington, which is served by no 3 and 4 buses from Worthing central railway station. Basically head straight on from the entrance to the fields at the back end of the supermarket car park, reaching the gap in the hedgerow mentioned above.

Nearest railway station is Goring by Sea on the main South Coast line with direct trains from Brighton, Portsmouth and London.

There is a camp phone - [NOW 07913 534083 - OLD NUMBER DELETED APRIL 2007]

Keep up to date with Protect Our Woodland! and Southcoast Indymedia
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