the pork-bolter
No 74, June 2006

Support the Titnore tree camp heroes!

DARING protesters have set up a tree camp in Titnore Woods in a brave bid to halt the massive planned housing development and road widening. They moved onto the land off Titnore Lane, Durrington, early on Sunday May 28 in an audacious dawn operation.

A spokesperson for the group said they were there to stay and were inviting supporters to join them and take a stand. They added: “Something had to be done to stop Worthing council and the developers getting away with this horrific scheme. Having seen all the efforts by campaigners ignored by the council and the government, which refused to hold a public inquiry, some of us got together and decided it was time to take action.”

The Porkbolter is 100% behind the camp and we urge readers to do what they can to support it – 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! Here’s how you can help:

* Moral support. Just popping in to say ‘hello’ is important. Lending a hand is even better.

* Supplies. Lots more 10-12mm polypropylene rope, large beams of wood, tools such as axes and shears, 100mm nails, food (preferably not meat or dairy), fresh water and so on.

* Physical support. Eviction of the camp may be attempted. Can you spare a few hours on-site?

* Voice your support. Write to the papers to say you support the camp! Phone the local radio stations!

* Financial support. The longer they keep it up, the more costs there will be. Take any donations to the camp (or, if that’s not possible, send cheques payable to “The Porkbolter” at PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ and we can pass it on). How about organising a fundraising jumble sale, coffee morning or sponsored event?

* 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 just north of “Somerset Lake”, east of Titnore Lane. One 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 (which the landowner has now been trying to block off), 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 Tesco's in Durrington, served by number 3 and 4 buses from Worthing central rail station. Head straight on from the entrance to the fields at the back end of the supermarket car park, reaching the gap mentioned above. Camp phone: 0780 4245324.

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


It’s time to say ‘enough!’

WE’RE always being told that our countryside has to be trashed because more homes are needed for a growing population. So you would have thought it would be good news that the current childbirth rate would mean a reduction in the number of people this country has to support in future.

Apparently not. Instead the message is that there is a “crisis” because not enough babies are being born. A report in The Guardian on May 19 said there had been a “slight, hopeful, rise” in the rate but that it was still “off target” despite government efforts to encourage women to have more kids.

The reason for this thinking is that the more people there are in a country, or a world, the more money can be made out of them. Our rulers regard us as a herd of cattle - the more docile dumb animals they can milk for their profit, the better. Their greed can never be satiated. There can never be enough people. They will never decide they have concreted over enough countryside or axed enough trees.

The criminal destruction planned for Titnore Woods is part of a much bigger picture, that more and more people are now waking up to. They are realising that if our children’s children’s children are going to have an Earth to live on, we are going to have to rid ourselves of this whole mad money-centred system and its cancer of perpetual “economic growth”, which is killing our life-support system.


Two fingers to the politicians!

A MASSIVE vote of no-confidence in Worthing's ruling parties - that's how Titnore Woods campaigners are describing the council election in the Northbrook ward. The ward recorded a much lower turnout than the rest of the borough in the ballot, following a campaign urging locals to register a “vote of no-confidence” in the politicians who gave the go-ahead for the controversial 900-home greenfield development.

Protect Our Woodland! (POW!) supporters blitzed letterboxes the night before the poll, calling for people to stay away from the polling stations and their message seems to have been heeded. While the percentage of those voting across Worthing ranged from 30% to 41%, in Northbrook, the area next to the planned development, it was an amazingly low 22% - meaning 78% of the population did not turn out.

Said John Clark of POW!: “The people of Northbrook ward have made it clear time and time again that they are totally opposed to the Titnore development. Our so-called democracy has failed the people of Durrington and they have made this clear to the politicans in no uncertain fashion.


Costa Corrupción!

A CORRUPT council in a seaside resort, handing out dodgy planning permissions to their mates in the property business in return for hefty backhanders... Yes, welcome to Marbella, Worthing’s new twin town in Spain (as proposed by The Porkbolter, on the basis that both places boast water shortages, palm trees and a glorious beach!).

You wouldn’t believe the stuff that’s been going on over there. The Guardian (April 8) wrote of a “mafia-style alliance of businessmen and politicians who ran Spain's most notorious town council as their own cash-generating fiefdom”.

And The Daily Telegraph (May 20) added: “A lot of the money in Marbella allegedly came from some officials brazenly charging developers for connivance in building illegally on green land.”

Thank goodness that sort of thing could never happen here!


Bins: any option as long as it’s this one!

LOCAL councils hate having to listen to the public’s views. And when they do feel forced to ask a question of the people who pay for their existence, they like to make sure they get the answer they were looking for.

A classic example of this comes with Worthing Borough Council’s ‘consultation’ over the £2 million introduction of wheelie bins here and in neighbouring Adur. A leaflet sent out to homes declares “Your views count!” and offers three options for people to chose from.

Strangely, though, all three options involve the introduction of wheelie bins! The option to keep things as they are was weeded out by the council before the public was asked for its opinion.

It gets worse. The leaflet is cleverly designed to favour Option 1, which is clearly what the council wants to do and will probably do anyway, regardless of what we think. Most people would consider this to be the worst of the options, as it involves our rubbish only being collected once a fortnight, with the alternate week for recycling.

However, the leaflet presents no fewer than four “advantages” to this scheme. Option two (weekly rubbish and fortnightly recycling) and option three (weekly rubbish and recycling) are allocated just two advantages each! This cunning loading of the question is backed up with the old advertising trick of influencing people by the use of colours. Long-term readers may remember the council deployed this approach to push through its privatisation of council housing in the late 1990s. Here it is again, in 2006.

The favoured option one is presented in a warm and cheerful dark pink, option two is a neutral green and option three, which undoubtedly provides the best service for Worthing people, in a cold and uninviting blue. Just in case you still haven’t swallowed the bait, the explanation on how to vote gives you another prod: “If you like option 1 best please indicate this as your 1st choice.” Oh, the power of suggestion!


A council of ill repute

CAN a local authority sink any lower than the appalling Worthing Borough Council? Not only do they trample over Worthing people’s opinions (Titnore) and waste half a million pounds of Worthing people’s money on a stupid piece of internal bickering (Sherylgate), but they also try to ban Worthing people from even talking about what they’re up to.

We’re referring, of course, to the gagging scandal that made the front page of The Worthing Herald on April 20. We have a copy of the letter sent out by Interim Chief Executive Ian Lowrie telling election candidates not to mention the Sherylgate scandal and it is a truly shocking document.

It tries to suggest there is some legal ban on people discussing the issue of former Chief Executive Sheryl Grady and her employment tribunal, stating: “I would remind you that the termination of her contract was conditional on there being no comment beyond the statements that were agreed as part of the legally binding agreement.”

No comment by the council itself, perhaps, but this is hardly binding on election candidates and members of the public! The real reason why they don’t want the issue discussed becomes clear later on: “It will damage the reputation of Worthing Borough Council.” So what is more important for Worthing council? Protecting its precious “reputation” or being accountable to the people of Worthing?


We are all criminals now

Nearly 1,500 innocent people have been wrongly branded as criminals by the Home Office, leading to them losing jobs or being barred from taking up courses, The Mail on Sunday reported on May 21. They have been labelled pornographers, thieves and violent robbers just because they have similar names and dates of birth to convicted criminals on the Police National Computer. Meanwhile, Yeovil drinkers going to the main clubs are being asked to “register their personal details, have their photograph taken and submit to a biometric finger scan” (The Guardian, May 1). A one-off piece of West Country eccentricity? Nope. “Police forces across the UK and the Home Office, which provided funding to get it up and running, are monitoring it and if it works in Yeovil it could spread around the country.”


Midsummer magic at oak

AN ANCIENT part of Worthing’s heritage has been spared the axe, thanks to the timely intervention of a local historian and writer. Chris Hare has persuaded the Highways Agency that the Midsummer Tree at Broadwater, which was alleged to be in a dangerous condition, should be retained. The tree, which is at least 300 years old, was believed to be the focus of supernatural activity, when ghostly skeletons would rise up from its roots on Midsummer Eve. His efforts to save the tree were backed up by a deluge of emails from concerned Worthing residents who heard about the threat. Mr Hare will be leading a Midsummer Eve celebration on Friday June 23. People are invited to gather in The Cricketers pub on Broadwater Green from 9pm, to be at the tree itself, near the Grove Lodge A27 roundabout, for midnight. Fancy dress encouraged – anything from skeletons to pagan Green Men.


Porky Pie’s Lie of the Month

“Proximity of planning applications to councillors’ own homes plays no part in the planning process!”


PORK-SCRATCHINGS

RESIDENTS in the Field Place area of Durrington will no doubt be interested to see a new film about Asda/Wal-Mart, the US firm that wants to build on the grounds of Worthing College in Bolsover Road. “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices” describes how the supermarket greed-machine wrecks whole communities in its quest for profit. At the same time, outraged parents are fighting to stop Worthing College from evicting the Kidzone children’s club from a hut in its grounds. The college says it needs the space. But if it it can squeeze a new massive supermarket into its grounds, you would have thought there might just be room for a few local youngsters!
* * *

WELL done to the residents of the Beeches Avenue area, who have now seen off plans by Hargreaves Homes to build 90 homes on downland behind their homes, despite the firm’s appeal. The inspector ruled against the scheme because of its effect on the character and appearance of the area and the increase of traffic on the A27. Quite right too, but if that’s true for 90 homes at one end of town, why not for 900 homes at the other?
* * *

A READER has contacted us with two additions to our Late Pint Guide. He tells us The Vine and The George and Dragon in Tarring High Street are both open until 12 on Fridays and Saturdays. Even better, both have a nice selection of real ales. Full guide here.
* * *

WORTHING’S biggest drug dealing gang has been forced to admit it has been profiting from selling dodgy substances that make people suicidal. The Guardian reported on May 13 that GlaxoSmithKline has sent a letter to all doctors in Britain warning of the risks from its anti-depressant Seroxat (see Porkbolter issue 54, June 2003). The giant pharmaceutical firm insists it has only just discovered the side-effect after reanalysing data, but the original research was carried out 15 years ago. How many lives have been wrecked while GSK has been sitting on the findings and trying to pretend nothing is wrong, so it can protect its obscene profit margins?
* * *

COMMUNITY police decided to intervene when anti-ID card protesters gathered in Montague Place, Worthing, on May 6. They claimed the use of megaphone was a menace to the public, classically declaring: “You are depriving these people of the right to shop!” Info: from worthing no2id.
* * *

A WORTHING group of Greenpeace is being formed on Tuesday June 13, upstairs at The Rest in Bath Place, Worthing, from 8pm. The next evening, Wednesday June 14, the venue hosts the Worthing Green Social, from 8pm, and then on Thursday June 29, from 8pm, is home to the Worthing Alliance meeting, which brings together people interested in a wide range of local issues.
* * *

WHY is this planet in such a mess and what can we do about it? A thoughtful new 70-page short book called Earth First Manifesto is available for £3 via email.
* * *

TWO Worthing companies feature in the Hall of Shame of British firms that have profited to the tune of £1.1 billion from the bloodshed in Iraq, revealed The Independent (March 13). They are HSBC, with offices in Farncombe Road, and Crown Agents, which recently moved from Splash Point to Liverpool Gardens.
* * *

IMAGINE an “Ebay” type website just for Worthing people, where everything is free. Check out the worthing freecycle site.


God save the Right to Shop!

“OF ALL the precious rights inherited by the proud subjects of the British Crown, none is so deeply treasured as the Right to Shop,” declared the Minister for Cultural Vacuums this week, with a tear welling in his eye. He added: “We would do well to remember the noble sacrifices made by generations of our ancestors to secure this vital freedom. From the Magna Car Park to the Trolleypuddle Martyrs and the Supermarkragettes, Britons have fought and died for the right to give away bucketloads of their money for things they do not really need.”


We don’t believe it!

THE PORKBOLTER is an independent newsletter for Worthing produced, funded and distributed by the sort of awkward individuals who don’t believe a word said to them by the local council, politicians or the government. To get the next six issues through the post send a donation of £3 or more payable to The Porkbolter at PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ.. Free e-mail subscriptions are also available. Send e-mail to porkbolter@eco-action.org.

Published and printed by The Porkbolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no subliminal colour coding.


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

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