the pork-bolter
No 45, May 2002

Titnore Developer Is A Crook

ONE of the property developers behind the Titnore Lane scheme in Durrington is a convicted crook who has been jailed for his shady deals, we can reveal. Super-rich Gerald Ronson is head of the Heron Group, one of the three firms involved in the West Durrington Consortium - the others are Bryant Homes (part of Taylor Woodrow) and Persimmon Homes. Ronson was found guilty of one charge of conspiracy, two of false accounting and one of theft in August 1990, as part of the notorious Guinness insider share dealing scandal. He was fined £5 million and sentenced to one year in prison, though he ended up serving only six months, being released in February 1991. Ronson’s Heron empire is 75 per cent-owned by some of the world’s most powerful tycoons including Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and the family trusts of junk bond dealer Michael Milken (The Observer, March 25, 2001). For some strange reason his Heron International, legal owner of stacks of Heron subsidiaries, is based in the Dutch Antilles. We trust that a public-spirited and community-minded fellow like Mr Ronson would not be involved in any attempt to avoid paying his share of taxes into the public purse... Ronson celebrates his 63rd birthday this month - coincidentally on May 26, the very day of the protest against the proposed development of Titnore Woods! So why not turn out just to wish Gerald many happy (financial) returns from the destruction of our countryside?

Battle Has Just Begun!

THE BATTLE to save Titnore Woods has only just begun, warned Worthing campaigners in the run-up to the big protest on Sunday May 26. The struggle to prevent the massive housing development on greenfields and ancient woodland has already had a big impact on Durrington and the whole borough. The Tories are citing it - along with the Asda scandal - as one of the reasons they have lost control of the council. But nobody is taking it for granted that the new Liberal Democrat administration will fulfill their election promise to oppose the bid. Said a spokesman for POW! (Protect Our Woodland): "Most people rightly do not trust any politician further than they can throw them. It is vital to keep up the pressure and really put the council on the spot over this issue. We must show the smug and arrogant elites that people power can and will prevail." The surge of popular defiance on the issue threw Worthing Tories into a panic as they realised they were likely to lose the election. POW! is non-political and was not involved in the local elections on May 2, but the Durrington Conservative candidate Alan Whiteley still saw fit to devote much of his "election special" newsletter to attacking the Titnore campaign. This said the Tory council would not be opposing the Titnore development because it "would be overruled" by central Government (what a cop-out!) and suggested that all that was left to be decided were "the standards of services and amenities to be included in the development". The Tory leaflet tried to convince locals that "our lives are facing serious disruption from the invasion of Titnore Lane by the eco-warriors". It fumed: "Some Worthing people seem to believe they can achieve something by joining the May protest walk bringing whistles and a picnic. Do they realise they will be escorting seasoned activists into Titnore Woods? Will their stay be a brief or a long one? "On the face of it ‘Save Titnore Woods’ looks a very good cause. But do the likes of Swampy actually ‘Protect Our Woodland’? The POW coalition, including Worthing Anarchists, SCAR and the Worthing Green Party, is openly claiming on its website the support of protestors from all over Britain and in Europe. What on earth will the policing cost? Alan Whiteley says: ‘Think long and hard before supporting these people. They have an agenda. It may not be yours’." Sadly for Mr Whiteley, it was the Tory agenda that was clearly not shared by the people of Durrington and he was humiliated at the polls, receiving less than half the votes of the Lib Dem winner! POW! is now warning that the developers, having temporarily withdrawn their application to fine-tune it in line with the local plan inspector’s comments, will probably be dressing up their new-look plans as some kind of compromise, that might be presented as acceptable by the new Lib Dem council. Opponents to the Titnore development are urged to meet at the Titnore Lane entrance to Northbrook College at 2pm on Sunday May 26 for the protest walk. This will go ahead regardless of any last-minute "reassuring" announcements from council or developers, or attempts at intimidation from the authorities, stress POW! * The developers’ existing plans are for 875 new homes and a possible industrial development, together with the widening and straightening of Titnore Lane to cope with the increase in traffic between the A27, A259 and the new developments. The proposed road would plough through rare ancient semi-natural woodland which has been 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.

Save Titnore Woods! PROTEST 2pm, Sunday May 26 Titnore Lane entrance to Northbrook College, Durrington, just north of A259 and Goring-by-Sea railway station. "Will go ahead regardless of any attempts at intimidation by the authorities" - POW!


It’s Right to Protest!

AN EXCELLENT defence of the value of protest has been made by Tony Wardle of Brighton-based animal campaign group Viva! (12 Queen Sq, Brighton BN1 3FD, www.viva.org.uk). He writes in the group’s mag Viva!Life: "It is protest that has shaped the world and is increasingly the only weapon we have at our disposal, as parliamentary democracy displays its contempt for those who elect it. Who knew anything about the World Bank and the IMF until 200,000 peasants took to the streets of Mexico and India and sparked a global protest movement which now has the bankers ducking and diving like criminals on the run? Continue protesting my friends - and remember that the more successful you are, the louder will be the voices claiming you are wasting your time. Protest until your voices are hoarse, your arms weary and your feet aching because you are part of one of the most important movements the world has ever seen." * Viva! is staging a national march against factory farming on Saturday July 13, meet at noon in Kennington Park, London SE11 (Oval tube station).

Be happy like us, advise bosses

POOR people in Worthing should "just cheer up" if they want to enjoy a comfortable and rewarding lifestyle. That’s the wake-up call from Sussexploit plc, the voice of the county’s business community. Priscilla Glutton, Sussexploit’s head of public relations, explained that a new statistical survey carried out by the agency proved beyond all doubt that poverty was "all in the mind". She said: "Our figures show that 71% of people officially below the poverty line say they often get depressed about their lives. However, among the top earning group only 22% said they were often depressed. "The picture is very clear. People with a positive attitude about life will find they are materially better off. We also found that a negative approach to life influences other factors. "For instance the figures show that poorer people - in other words those with a miserable attitude - chose to live in smaller, cramped and less desirable homes, whereas positive-minded high-earners opted for large and spacious homes in pleasant locations. "This really puts paid to the so-called fact bandied about by hardcore trouble-makers that poverty is rife in parts of Worthing. Our findings show that if people could simply think positively and move to a nice big home in a wealthy area they would live as happily and comfortably as I do." Ms Glutton added: "Statistics never lie and our statistics prove that poor people basically need a kick up the backside. They should cheer up and try and play a more useful role in Tony Blair’s exciting and opportunity-creating enterprise Britain."

They mast be halted!

THE MASSIVE wave of protest at the phone mast threat is gathering pace. Goring residents recently staged a protest against plans for a mobile phone mast on the seafront at Worthing Yacht Club. There is growing anger over the way the Government has nobbled the planning procedure to allow its chums in the telecoms industry to put masts anywhere they fancy. As Barry Jones on Marine Crescent said in a report in the Worthing Guardian: "Why should mobile phones take precedence over everything?" Another protester, Gillian Joseph of Sea Place, said: "Companies have tried to install masts at Findon, Salvington, at two churches and a library in Goring. We are feeling pressured" It is not just in Worthing that people are starting to take action against the mast menace. Campaigners from the Luton Mast Action Group (c/o BlackCat, PO Box 923, Luton LU2 0YQ) have compiled a list of symptoms suffered since the activation of one Orange mast: Adults - severe, prolonged headaches, dry or ulcerated mouth, insomnia, tinnitus and pressure in the ears, nosebleeds, depression, bloodshot and itching eyes, giddiness, severe rise in blood pressure. Children - insomnia, earache and tinnitus, unusual rash, nosebleed, severe headaches, sore mouth with ulcers. Animals - all goldfish dead in pond the summer after activation, previously lively cat lethargic, vomiting, neck tumour, healthy dog now listless, insomniac, frequently vomits. * National support group Mast Sanity can be contacted at 20 Outwood Road, Radcliffe, Manchester M26 1AQ. Tel 0161 959 0999, fax 0161 959 1001, http://www.mastaction.org

Mayday trip to Mayfair

ONE of the dodgiest companies in the world was highlighted by a group of a dozen Worthing people taking part in the Mayday anti-capitalist protests in London. They protested in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, at the UK HQ of The Carlyle Group, an American finance firm closely linked to the US government, arms manufacturers, the CIA, the British Conservative Party and the Bin Laden family! A banner was displayed declaring "The Carlyle Group - Axis of Evil" and hundreds of leaflets were handed out to the public from 12 noon. These detailed from mainstream sources like the Los Angeles Times and The Guardian, the astonishing connections to people in power enjoyed by the little-known but massively wealthy company. For a copy of the leaflet send a stamped addressed envelope or you can read it on our website on the Carlyle Group page

State of the police

THREE patrol cars full of coppers were called out to deal with a woman who threw away a paper cup on Broadwater Bridge, Worthing, reported The Worthing Guardian (April 5). Said one of her friends: "Initially there was one car and two officers, but when we complained about their manner, they responded by calling out more cars and more officers. It was very intimidating and I honestly felt they were trying to get us to swear or react aggressively so that they could arrest us." Good heavens! Surely not? The Porkbolter cannot believe officers of the law would do anything of the kind!

Whose side is your MP on?

HOW touching that Tory MP for West Worthing Peter Bottomley is so concerned about the effects of the Government’s new Employment Bill. Articles, along with identical photos, appeared in the Worthing Guardian on March 22 and the Worthing Advertiser on April 10 explaining how beleaguered bosses were under attack from "red tape". Mr Bottomley saw fit to meet members of the Worthing and Adur branch of the Federation of Small Businesses to discuss their worries about "the welter of paperwork" they face. Meanwhile, other aspects of the bill were explored in a piece by Paul Foot in The Guardian on April 17. This revealed that "the bill makes some very major concessions to the employers, especially to curb the annoying habit of workers of suing employers at tribunals." Mr Foot explained that clause 39 "gives employers the right to insist, as a condition of employment, that their workers give up their rights to sue their employers". So far there has been no concern expressed by Mr Bottomley about this "red tape" threat to ordinary people. But then since when has any MP seen it as important to actually stand up for the voters he is supposed to be representing?

PORK-SCRATCHINGS

WARNING: The road lobby has still got a beady eye on the beautiful downland north of Cissbury Ring, despite plans for it to be included in a new National Park. For all the talk of "sustainable" transport networks, tarmacking over the countryside still seems to be number one option for the profit-seekers and the door for more road-building ("removing traffic bottlenecks") is definitely left open by the draft conclusions of the current "SoCoMMS" multi-modal study - including an insane bypass round the existing Arundel bypass and across the Arun wetlands. You can have a chat (or a loud and aggressive rant) at the people behind this study (Halcrow Group Ltd) at an exhibition at the Ardington Hotel, Steyne Gardens, Worthing, on Thursday May 23 (12 to 6pm) and Friday and Saturday 24 and 25 (10am to 5pm).
* * *

A HORRIFIC crime was committed in Worthing in April. No, it wasn’t a mugging or a stabbing. Somebody nicked the Tories’ prized Union Jack from outside their HQ in Union Place. The offence was melodramatically described as "a sick act" by MP Tim Loughton (Worthing Herald, April 12) and Tory agent Mary Lermitte said she could not imagine that "anyone would stoop so low", though we think she might have meant "anyone could reach so high." Commented the dependable local police inspector Allan Lowe: "Although the location is opposite the police station, as far as we know there are no witnesses to the theft."
* * *

EUROPE’S increasingly dictatorial governments have been secretly drafting binding rules to ensure all EU states must introduce universal surveillance of phone calls. This alarming revelation has been made by the excellent campaign group Statewatch ( http://www.statewatch.org or PO Box 1516, London N16 0EW). Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, commented: "If all telecommunications - phone-calls, e-mails, faxes and internet usage - are placed under surveillance not only will data protection be fatally undermined but so too will be the very freedoms that distinguish democracies from authoritarian regimes".
* * *

WHAT a shame that the main event in Worthing’s Golden Jubilee celebrations had to be cancelled because not one person wanted to buy a ticket (Evening Argus, May 8). We reckon £24 a head was a small price to pay for the pleasure of hanging around in a tent for a few hours with the mayor and a bunch of other politicians. What’s wrong with you, people of Worthing?
* * *

WE are constantly told how vital it is to destroy our countryside to build new homes. So what do you think is going to be built on the police station site in Union Place, Worthing? A community resource centre? Low rent town centre flats for young folk perhaps? No, more shops. Just what Worthing needs.
* * *

HOW wonderful to see exotic Italian-imported trees transforming Worthing sea front into the Riviera. But whatever happened to that native species of Worthing, The Litten Tree?
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WORTHING doesn’t seem to have quite caught up with modern liberal policing and the proposed decriminalisation of cannabis. Questioned about the town’s proposed cannabis cafe, police inspector Allan Lowe said (Worthing Herald, April 11): "If a cannabis cafe was to open, anyone smoking cannabis on the premises would be taken into custody." Now there’s a constructive dialogue.
* * *

LOCAL political prisoner Neil Bartlett, recently sent to jail for the hideous offence of making phone calls, has now moved address to a new des res in the West Country. Letters to Neil Bartlett FW7083, HMP The Verne (Wing A1), Portland, Dorset DT5 1EQ.
* * *

NEXT Worthing eco-action meeting is at 7.45pm on Tuesday June 11 at The Downview pub opposite West Worthing station. Note this is not the first Tuesday of the month, as usual, because of the extra bank holiday.

Use the proper channels

PROTESTING is not the right way to express your point of view, the Ministry of Obedience pointed out today. Explained a spokesman: "The correct way to express your opinion is by voting, writing to your MP or, as an equally effective alternative, standing at the bottom of the beach at low tide on a rainy Monday evening and attempting to telepathically transmit your point of view, in medieval Swedish, to a dead seagull."

Pigs don’t like fat cats

THE PORK-BOLTER is an independent local newsletter named after the genuine olde word for Worthing residents. It is run by volunteers and is in no way a huge multinational corporation run by corrupt fat cats out to get richer and richer by trampling over the countryside and ripping off the public. To get the next six issues through the post send a donation of at least £3 payable to The Porkbolter, to PO Box 4144, Worthing 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.

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


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

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