the pork-bolter
No 2, November 1997

COUNCIL CREEPS INTO GAP

CREEPY Worthing Borough Council is prepared to sell off one of our last bits of green space in order to suck up to Big Business.

And, once again, they were hoping to sneak it through without anyone noticing - until it was too late.

They tried the same thing with selling off council houses and were getting away with it until the first issue of The Pork-Bolter forced the issue out into the open. And now it's hats off to eagle-eyed residents in Goring and Ferring for spotting the loophole in the Local Plan that will allow someone to build all over the Goring Gap, a vital breathing space in the West Sussex Coastal Conurbation.

Publicly, the council has always pretended that it was dedicated to protecting the Strategic Gap from developers. But it now emerges that behind the scenes it was busy hatching out one of those cunning little schemes so favoured by council officials. Without letting anyone know what was happening, it has inserted into the Local Plan, the planning blueprint, a clause saying that “in compelling circumstances” the Goring Gap can be built on. All perfectly hypothetical of course! Wouldn't it be a porking coincidence if in a few months' time it turned out that someone with a “compelling” lot of economic clout wanted to do just that!

This has all obviously been well known in certain select circles for quite a while now. There was a massive row about the issue just before the General Election, with Liberal Democrat candidate Chris Hare dismissing as “scurrilous” claims that his party would allow the Gap to be built on “now or in the future”. His own colleagues obviously hadn't even let him in on the secret, as he is now reacting angrily against the scheme! Urging residents to oppose earmarking land in Goring Gap and off Titnore Lane for development, he warned: “This town is in danger of having its entire planning strategy dictated by large, multi-national companies. For I have little doubt that these policies represent an effort to keep certain employers in the town at all costs.”

It has been suggested to The Pork-Bolter that the company involved in Goring Gap is none other than Daewoo, the Korean motor manufacturers. In truth it doesn't matter which offshoot of Big Business is concerned, or indeed which particular political party happens to be “running” the council at the moment.

What the people of Worthing are up against is a power base at the Town Hall that has no interest in representing the people of Worthing or protecting our environment, but seems to be involved in a perpetual struggle to hide from us what it is really up to and pull the wool over our eyes.

The people of Worthing have had enough of greedy property developers and businesses destroying what's left of our green space. There must be no surrender at Goring Gap, Titnore Lane or East Worthing.

We voted for our councillors to protect Worthing not sell it off to the highest bidders! We say: "THIS ISN'T DEMOCRACY! IT'S A PORKING DISGRACE!"


A sickening tail of our porky history!

THANKS to all those readers who dropped us a line after reading issue one of The Pork-Bolter, Worthing's leading independent non-party political pig-orientated campaigning newsletter. We're glad you're on our side! And we are especially grateful for the correspondent who has come up with an alternative origin for our title, a traditional nickname for Worthing people dating from its fishing village days. We thought it might be something cultural and symbolic to do with olde gods and goddesses, but the new suggestion sounds rather plausible and considerably less wholesome! Explains the reader: “I think the explanation given in one of Arthur Ransome's books of a cure for sea sickness may be a better origin of pork-bolter. Take a piece of bacon fat, tie string round it, swallow as much of it as you can, then pull it out with the string. Ugh!"


Spot the Difference!

A NEW blunder from Worthing Borough Council's housing wing has let the cat out of the bag on its plans for privatisation.

We can reveal that TWO different versions of the pros and cons of the scheme have been prepared by the council - one for councillors and one for its tenants! Surprisingly enough, they are NOT the same! And anyone with copies of both documents in front of them can indulge in a fascinating game of spot the difference...

For a start, in the report to the Housing Services Committee on September 3 1997 the council listed FIVE advantages to the scheme and SIX disadvantages. But in a “special” November 1997 edition of its Home News, sent out to tenants, it lists EIGHT advantages and only TWO disadvantages!

Which is correct? What has happened to the other four disadvantages that councillors were told about? Where have the three new advantages come from?

A closer look reveals that some of the issues have conveniently changed side before they were allowed to be presented to the tenants. The September report admitted that “the assured tenancy available through an independent organisation does not provide the same level of statutory rights to tenants as the Council's secure tenancy”. This was a “disadvantage”. But in Home News an “advantage” of privatisation is apparently “strong protection of your rights as a tenant”.

Likewise the council report warns that “there are restrictions on the time and extent to which the Council could provide its central services to the independent organization”, while the tenants are told independence would bring the advantage of “continuing close links with the Borough council”! Hmmm...

In issue one of The Pork-Bolter we revealed the astonishing fact that under its own “advantages” to the scheme the council listed the ability to put up rents: “Rents can be set which are not subject to Government regulation.” This has also been twisted right round by the time it appears in Home News. There, the number one advantage to the proposal is “guarantees about future rent increases”!

Equally appalling is a letter supposedly from Mrs Holman of the tenants' association enclosed with Home News in the central area of Worthing. This is little more than a piece of junk mail trying to brainwash tenants into rubberstamping the council's plans.

Says the “neutral” Mrs Holman: “Worthing Borough Council has decided to give us the opportunity to choose to allow things to carry on as they are or say YES to WORTHING HOMES becoming an independent Housing Company.” The block-capitals are hers. She also warns: “To carry on as things are would be a bleak outlook for you and even worse for the younger generation.”

No bias there, then!

Watch out for a special council meeting on November 17.


Porky Pie’s Top Tip of the Month!

HOW TO ANNOY A TENANTS' ASSOCIATION!
  1. Stand up for tenants.
  2. Encourage them to get involved in the association.
  3. Err… that's it.
  4. Sit back and wait for furious Worthing Homes tenants' association to slag you off in the local press!

Standing up for the Downs

THE CASE for turning the South Downs into a National Park is being sidelined, a senior figure has warned. Len Clark, a member of the South Downs Conservation Board since 1992, made his claim in a hard-hitting statement last month.

He said: “A National Park Authority's ability to hold land, even if used only rarely, could be crucial in the protection of a threatened landscape.” But Mr Clark warned: “In my view the case for National Park or equivalent status has been largely sidelined and I find this frustrating. Whilst there may be “respectable arguments” for not favouring it, I am bound to say that the majority of the arguments I have heard are simplistic and ill-informed, not to say Neanderthal.”

He complained that a conference at Sussex University in July 1996 “was largely restricted to the local authority and semi-established interests. In particular the National Park option was never seemingly considered and mention of it was usually passed aside as not appropriate.” And he added, disturbingly: “With hindsight I sense a greater degree of steam-rolling than was apparent at the time. An important factor was that the local authorities were wary of any new authority which might encroach on their powers.”


Killjoy spirit of the law

OUR authorities' traditional obsession with banning things that people enjoy has broken new ground, thanks to Sussex Police. The Boys in Blue are so bored with pretending to be fighting crime that they have been busy conducting a campaign against the harmless Hallowe'en Trick or Treat.

Thousands of leaflets were distributed, and stories run in the press, with the result that children knocking on doors in Worthing met with a frequently hostile reaction from the public. That'll teach them to try and have a bit of fun!

One of the excuses for the cops' killjoy caper was that Trick or Treat is an American import (where were they at the McLibel picket?). Actually, they're not quite right there - like a lot of supposedly American traditions, the whole thing originated over here, when in the Middle Ages on October 31 “black-clad men went from house to house collecting money and gifts to pay for Masses for the dead” (see Elizabeth Luard's European Festival Food, Bantam Press; 1990).


PORK-SCRATCHINGS

ANOTHER boost for fans of CCTV cameras! Businessmen just over the Downs in the village of Storrington want to bring Big Brother into their rural community, despite the fact that the local councillor and the village bobby both say crime is actually decreasing and is not a problem! But then crime is not the real reason for these totalitarian-style spy lenses in any case. It's all about control. The scheme is backed by local right-wing Tory MP, Howard Flight.
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CONGRATULATIONS to Worthing man Ian Lay. On October 28 at Christ's Hospital school in Horsham, Mr Lay, aged 57, was installed as the New Provincial Grand Master of the Sussex Freemasons, succeeding David Llewellyn. He was a solicitor in Worthing before taking up his current job as a District Judge in 1987. What sort of place would Worthing be today without the likes of Mr Lay, we wonder?
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COMPLEMENTARY medicine enthusiasts might like to chase a copy of Medicine Dragon. The Autumn issue contains articles on Reflexology, Oriental Diagnosis and How Western Toilets May Be Damaging Your Health. Available from 72 Park Road, Worthing BN11 - 2AN. Send SAB and a cheque for 50p made payable to Andy Gadd (Medicine Dragon).
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NEW addresses for two very worthwhile Worthing-based organisations. Worthing Friends of The Earth and South Coast Against Road Building (SCAR)(ADDRESSES OUT OF DATE AND NOW REMOVED TO AVOID CONFUSION)
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ON OCTOBER 16, Pork-Bolters took part in an international day of protest against McDonald's, the global burger chain that tries to silence critics of its empire of greed by taking them to court. Our protesters handed out hundreds of London Greenpeace leaflets outside the Montague Place outlet.
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FOLLOWING our article on the use of the “stalking” law to try and stop animal rights protests, a reader has revealed that she has already raised the issue with Peter Bottomley, Conservative MP for West Worthing. He replied saying that he hoped her fears about the laws would not be “often” justified, adding: “"If there are serious difficulties with legitimate protest, I shall be active.” We are not holding our breath...

Official warning

THIS newsletter has not been produced by Worthing Borough Council, Sussex Police, the Government, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives, the Freemasons, the Chamber of Commerce or Daewoo. It is therefore NOT OFFICIALLY APPROVED and anyone reading it does so at the risk of damaging their own blissful ignorance.

Go on, make a real pig of yourself - subscribe!

ISSUE 3 of The Pork-Bolter will be out in December. If you want to make sure of getting a copy, simply send us a stamped self-addressed envelope. To get the next 6 issues send a donation of at least £2 (please think about making it a bit more, if you really want to help us!). Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to The Pork-Bolter. All correspondence to PO Box 4144. Worthing West Sussex BN14 7NZ. Why not send us your own items of community news? Be seeing you!
and finally ...
Reclaim Your Town, Reclaim Your Life!

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