the pork-bolter
No 41, December 2001

Save our woodland!


Durrington residents are ready to fight horrific Titnore Lane proposals

A MASSIVE battle is shaping up to save unique ancient woodland in Durrington which is under serious threat from property developers and road builders. Angry residents are determined to save the countryside around Titnore Lane, but London-imposed housing "quotas" mean it will be an uphill struggle to stop the tide of concrete and tarmac. Disillusioned with the gutless local authorities, who are too scared to stand up to Whitehall and prevent the rape of our countryside, some locals are already talking about a direct action campaign to stop the bulldozers moving in to one of the last remaining green spaces in the Worthing borough. The horrific plans before Worthing Borough Council at the moment involve 875 new homes, a 9.1 acre industrial development and a new dual carriageway version of Titnore Lane scarring the landscape to connect the A27 with the Northbrook College roundabout on the A259 Littlehampton road. The proposed road would plough through rare ancient semi-natural woodland that has been thriving there since the last Ice Age. It has been designated a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) and is completely irreplaceable. Several hundred trees would have to be felled, many over 150 years old and comprising oak, ash, birch and willow. The woods are home to many species of wildlife, including dormice. Titnore Lane itself is a historical droveway, reaching back at least to the Anglo-Saxon period and most probably way beyond that. It was part of a longer track that reached northwards across the Downs and is rich in archaeological remains. The woods below Highdown, the important iron age hillfort, are an important amenity for local people and their quality of life would be severely affected by the proposed massive housing estate - and by the increase in traffic that would be generated in the area. As a first response, residents can write to Head of Planning, Portland House, Richmond Road, Worthing or e-mail planning@worthing.gov.uk to object to the bid for planning permission, quoting reference number WB/01/01041/FULL. They might also like to pop in for a chat with landowner Clement Somerset, who lives at Holt Farm off the A27 Arundel Road opposite Castle Goring, and ask him politely why he is so enthusiastic about this massive multi-million pound scheme. And they might like to start to think now about what they are actually going to DO when all their protests and petitions are ignored and the big machines move in to destroy the woodlands and their wildlife for ever. If anyone wants to get in touch with like-minded people over this issue, drop us a line at PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ.

Business plans to bulldoze democracy

ONE of the great things about living in this country is supposed to be that we have a democratic system, where there are channels for everyone to have their say in the way things are run. Of course, in reality it doesn't really work like that at all, as once someone has crept their way into a position of power they are no longer under any obligation to listen to or act on the opinions of the public they claim to represent. But now things are set to get even worse - with our increasingly despotic rulers using the cover of the "war against terrorism" to finally do away with even the pretence of giving the public a chance to challenge their corrupt manoeuvrings. This major change is being dressed up as a "streamlining of the planning process", but it is a lot more sinister and fundamental than that, as the Federation of Sussex Amenity Societies explained in their October newsletter. The article warned that the changes "could end up gagging local opinion and eroding democracy". It added: "The suggestion is that major projects, such as motorways, airports and nuclear power stations, will be removed from the public inquiry process. The alternative would be for Ministers to make their decision in principle and then to seek Parliamentary approval. Any subsequent public inquiry would focus on local details only, thus ruling out arguments over the merits of a scheme." Needless to say, the Federation is totally opposed to the move, as are groups like the Council for the Protection of Rural England and Friends of the Earth. But their opposition may not count for anything with a Government that seems prepared to listen to only one voice- that of its beloved "Business Community". Naturally the latter are completely behind the proposal - it was their idea in the first place! The CBI submitted a report to the Government complaining that "British competitiveness" was being put at risk from "planning system hurdles" - otherwise known as democracy and public opinion. The British Chambers of Commerce have also got in on the act. November's issue of Sussex Enterprise Business News quotes them as complaining that "UK productivity growth is being held back by a complex, inefficient and bureaucratic planning system and ministers must introduce fundamental reforms to ensure planning policy better supports competitiveness". Translated into plain English, this means that nothing must ever be allowed to stand in the way of the rich getting richer. The capitalist elite are counting on Tony Blair's New Labour to crush every last vestige of opposition to their tyrannical quest for more and more profits - and there's no indication their obedient poodle is going to let them down.

Concrete aid for the uncivilised world

WORTHING could be a key model in the rebuilding of Afghanistan following the current war. That's the view of successful local businessman and councillor Eric Backhander. He said this week: "The war will be over by Christmas and then it will be time to turn our thoughts to the positive task of reconstructing the infrastructure of Afghanistan. The country will obviously be crying out to be brought bang up to date into the 21st century and what better role model for this than our fine town of Worthing? "One of the first emergency tasks facing the Freedom Rebuilding Coalition will be the erection of multi-storey car parks - frankly an essential for anywhere with claims to a progressive and modern outlook. I happen to know that there are a number of experts in this field in the Worthing area who have helped make the town what it is today and I have contacted them to sound out their views on helping our Afghan friends. "They told me they would be more than happy to be flown out to Kabul at the taxpayers' expense to offer their advice - obviously once the area has been made safe for the business community by the Allied Forces of Liberation." Mr Backhander said that, despite their poor record on human rights, the Taliban had at least made a start on the modernisation of Afghanistan by demolishing a number of "frankly outmoded" ancient monuments, a forward-looking initiative that would no doubt be further helped by the Americans' humanitarian carpet bombing. He said he was optimistic that, with the right people in charge, the capital Kabul could one day become as modern and civilised as Worthing itself. But Mr Backhander cautioned: "Obviously the correct democratic procedures will also have to be in place, as they are already in Worthing, to ensure that all the contracts for the development work go to my mates."

Secret identity plot

SINISTER totalitarians at Whitehall are secretly plotting to impose complusory ID cards on us all, despite the idea having apparently been dropped a couple of months ago. This was the worrying picture presented on November 5 in a front-page exclusive in The Daily Express. It revealed: "The photographs and signatures of 10 million people are being stored on a Government computer which could form the heart of a new national identity card system. A secret group of senior officials from key Whitehall departments is also discussing the possible introduction of ID cards despite a widespread impression that the idea had been shelved." Asked Roger Bingham from Liberty: "Why are they doing it in secret? The Government shouldn't be looking at anything that would have this much impact on every individual by a back-door route. Identity cards should surely be openly and democratically debated." What an absurd thought! If the issue was democratically debated the public might democratically decide to say no. And that would be no way to run a democracy... * DEFENCE of individual liberties is "airy fairy" according to Neo-Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett (The Guardian, November 12), announcing a new raft of suppressive police state measures under the cover of war. Freedom is Weakness. Slavery is Strength. Who needs satire?

It’s not such a fair cop, guv

A WONDERFUL example of our splendid local boys in blue in action was presented by The Worthing Herald on October 4. It told how Gary Syphas, a local postie driving a Royal Mail van, was harrassed by the cops after they drove into the back of his vehicle. The insurance people would hardly have blamed Gary for the crash - after all, he wasn't even moving at the time! But the shocked postie found himself being breathalysed by police from a second car - surely not a rather pathetic attempt to shift the blame off their mates? These bright sparks even asked Gary "if he owned the Royal Mail van he was driving". More powers for the police, Mr Blunkett? We hope not.

Dallying on the Downs

THE GOVERNMENT is stalling on its plans for a South Downs National Park under pressure from rich landowners and Tory county councillors. The scheme could now could be delayed until 2006. Chris Todd, campaign officer for the South Downs Campaign, said: "The Countryside Agency is undertaking an unprecedented amount of public consultation on the future of the South Downs and the answer from the public has always been a resounding yes to the national park. Any public inquiry should focus purely on those few boundary disputes left unresolved at the end of the process. That would ensure that a National Park Authority could be up and running by 2003."

Porky Pie’s Top Tip of the Month!

HOW TO DEFEND DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM
  1. Abolish democracy
  2. Abolish freedom

PORK-SCRATCHINGS

AN AMAZING victory is being claimed by the organisers of Da Big Smoke, a pro-cannabis picnic in Worthing on the August bank holiday Monday. Within a couple of months, the Government was forced to announce it would be de-criminalising the evil weed. Clearly they knew that if staid old Worthing could muster 100 people for an event like that, the days of public support for its laws were well and truly over...
* * *

POLITICAL prisoner Neil Bartlett wants to thank everyone who has been writing to him in Lewes jail. He said: "The support I've had has been amazing. It's getting me through the grind here for certain." He reports that three new bomb hoax charges have been added to his existing five, meaning a theoretical 56 years maximum sentence for allegedly making phone calls - well before September 11 incidentally - to environment-polluting and animal-abusing businesses. Write to: Neil Bartlett FW7083, HMP Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1EA.
* * *

PLANS to bring hundred of market stalls into already over-crowded Montague Street, Worthing, every Saturday are bizarre. Will anyone be able to get through the street at all?
* * *

THE NEXT meeting hosted by Worthing eco-action will be at 7.45pm on Tuesday December 4 at the Downview pub opposite West Worthing railway station.
* * *

NEWS from the bureaucratic bedlam of the NHS, where bosses are looking for three mental health "user" representatives to cover their South East Region. The problem is that the region stretches from Southampton and South West Hampshire in the west to East Kent in the east, from the Isle of Wight in the south to Northamptonshire in the north. Presumably the health chiefs will be providing the helicopters...
* * *

SPIN doctors' attempts to paint privatisation of housing benefit services as a big improvement have been exposed as a lie. A report by the Audit Commission suggested that privatising the work could be the solution to "error, waste and fraud". But an investigation by The Guardian (October 31) revealed "a clear link between the worst performing benefit services and privatisation". It reported: "There are 14 local authority areas in England where new claims took more than 100 days on average to process in the last financial year. In nine of these, benefit was administered by a private contractor rather than the council."

The profits of war

WHO said war was all bad news? In his "Straight talk" column in the November issue of Sussex Enterprise Business News, SE’s chief executive Ken Caldwell looks very much on the bright side. There are "real business opportunities" to be had from all the terror and destruction, he explains. "We are committed to working with businesses in Sussex to help you identify and capitalise on those opportunities". And what exactly does the shrewd Mr Caldwell have in mind? Here's a clue. He declares that "while market demand is likely to weaken in the short-term in some industry sectors, others, such as defence and security, are likely to see growth in demand." Of course - make more guns and mines and bombs and flog them to all sides in the conflict, making a small fortune out of the deaths and mutilation of men, women and children across the world! No wonder the global population is so grateful for the civilised western business value system of which Mr Caldwell is such a straight-talking local representative.

Warning: Titnore Terror

DORMICE who have made their homes in the woods by Titnore Lane, Durrington, could belong to terrorist groups sympathetic to Osama Bin Laden, warns the Ministry of Truth and Justice. Said a spokesman: "After the events of September 11, nobody can possibly defend these vermin. The sooner we send in the bulldozers the sooner the world will be made safe for our generous sponsors in the Business Community. We recognise that other creatures, such as badgers and foxes, may not be directly involved in terrorist activities but they have made no statements condemning the dormice and this silence must be interpreted as guilt. Let’s not get airy-fairy about this. They all must die."

Pork out for a subscription!

THE PORK-BOLTER is an independent newsletter for Worthing, confusingly named after an old nickname for Worthing folk that nobody has really heard of these days. If you want to ensure a copy of issue 42, simply send us a stamped self-addressed envelope. To get the next six issues send a donation of at least £3 to cover costs. Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to The Pork-Bolter.Drop us a line at PO Box 4144, Worthing, West Sussex BN14 7NZ. You can also pay a visit to our website at http://www.eco-action.org/porkbolter or send e-mail porkbolter@eco-action.org. e-mail subscriptions are also available. You can always pick up up a free copy of The Pork-Bolter from the info stall in Montague Place, Worthing, most Saturdays from 1pm.

Printed and published by The Pork-Bolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright. No countryside.


and finally ...
Reclaim Your Town, Reclaim Your Life!

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