It is a testament to the amazing efforts that have been put into this unprecedented battle by a huge range of people - the tree campers and their supporters of course, the Worthing Society with its threat of legal action against the council and most of of all the hundreds, if not thousands, of local people who have played their part by writing letters, joining protests, giving donations and generally making it abundantly clear that they are right behind the campers and totally against the development.
However, the fight is clearly not won yet, even though Mr Somerset, the council and the developers would now like everyone to go home so they can get on with the serious business of destroying the countryside in the interests of profit. Even if the news on Titnore Lane is confirmed - and time will tell on that one - there is still a lot to be concerned about and to be struggling against.
The most obvious problem is that even though Titnore Lane may not be straightened, it is still planned to drive an access road from there onto the proposed 875-home housing estate. This would cut right through the heart of the woodland that the tree campers are protecting. Since that is why they set up there in the first place, they see no reason why the council's half-hearted climb-down should make them pack up and make way for the bulldozers.
Said one campaigner: "The access road would damage precious eco-systems and destroy the habitat of various protected species, including newts and dormice. At the end of the day, building roads through woods, and dumping massive housing estates right next to them, amounts to much the same as chopping down the whole woods."
If the council and their developer chums thought that a change of heart over the road straightening would take the steam out of the opposition, they were wrong! All it has done is to show people that the pressure is paying off and that their efforts have not been wasted.
One more push could halt the access road and another couple after that could stop the whole porkin' development!
You can help keep up the pressure on Saturday October 7, when people will be gathering at 2pm outside Durrington railway station for a mass walk to Titnore Woods, calling for the access road to be scrapped and expressing their support and thanks to the tree protesters. Bring your friends and family!
Info: Protect Our Woodland!, Southcoast Indymedia, Camp Titnore Myspace, another Titnore site and www.eco-action.org/porkbolter (that's this one!) These sites are all run separately and updated with varying regularity, but if you surf between them, all the info should be there somewhere!
Camp phone: 0780 4245324.
2pm, Saturday October 7
Durrington railway station
In fact, there was only ever one previous protest at that spot and the three people grabbed by the cops on that occasion were all eventually shown to have been wrongly arrested - with one case dramatically collapsing in court after amateur video footage revealed the horrible truth about police behaviour and their version of events. The latest court case, which had been due to take place on September 18 and 19 at Worthing courts, was dropped less than a week beforehand. The man involved is now planning to sue Sussex Police. So why was all this taxpayers' money wasted on preparing a prosecution that was never going to stand up in court?
* Meanwhile, intimidation of the tree camp protesters continued on Friday September 22, when seven very burly policemen arrived with video cameras and a tough-guy attitude, including the threat to use "pressure points" (intense pain) to evict children from the site. Nice...
While the Dome now boasts no fewer than four bars and a posh convention centre, the so-called "regeneration" of the Grade II* listed cinema adds up to repairing seats and touching-up the main auditorium. None of the cash seems to have gone on modernising the ancient Dolby stereo sound system nor the main screen, which were the two major points of complaint by the cinema's patrons.
There has been a long and massive battle to save the cinema. The original Save the Dome campaign started in 1988 and raised 35,000 signatures on a petition. When Worthing Borough Council agreed to sell the Dome to a Trust to ensure its future, things looked hopeful, especially when the Trust won lottery funding to preserve the cinema. But now the nightmare has returned, with fears that the historic building will still not be kept as a cinema in the future and will instead become just another lucrative seafront bar and restaurant complex, leaving film-goers to spend their cash at the proposed multiplex to be built at Teville Gate.
Alarm bells have been rung by the fact that the Worthing Dome management rejected out of hand an approach by well known cinema operator City Screen, the people behind the thriving Duke of York's in Brighton, to run the Dome. At the core of the campaigners' concerns is the seeming lack of interest in the world of film shown by an organisation that is supposedly devoted to preserving a cinema! This point has been raised by David Trevor-Jones, chairman of the Cinema Theatre Association, who wrote: "I am extremely sorry that the Trust has not sought our views or advice. We have a wealth of experience and knowledge to offer and would freely and enthusiastically have offered it."
First sign of something going amiss was perhaps the mysterious disappearance of plans for a Museum of Cinema, which was an integral part of the Trust's application for a lottery grant. In an intriguing twist, some of its potential prize exhibits, the Dome's antique Peerless Projectors, were found for sale in a scrap shop in East Worthing! There is also speculation as to any link between the huge emphasis on bars in the new-style Dome (Projectionist's Bar, Function Room Bar, Restaurant Bar, Dome Terrace Bar) and the fact that a Dome Trust member, Colin Bradshaw, is the owner of two liquor distribution companies (Latin Spirits and Wines and New World Wines) which have served as the Dome's only alcohol suppliers.
There could be a sensible reason for this. Small cinemas often need the guarantee of cafe/bar money to prop up their box office income. However, in The Dome's case, the catering and cinema sides are to be run as two separate businesses, meaning the drink sales won't be able to bail out the cinema in times of need. Warned Mr Trevor-Jones: "I am deeply concerned that the business model adopted by the Trust seems to be in danger of squandering the opportunity afforded by the building. I am deeply concerned that dividing the cinema exhibition from the catering business could render the former extremely vulnerable, especially if multiplex competition emerges.
"I hope that the Dome Cinema will succeed and prosper. It must. It is too important a building and the more than decade-long struggle to save it has been too hard fought to allow any other conclusion. I do regret that the business model adopted at the end of this long struggle seems designed to jeopardise rather than to foster that outcome." More info: www.savetheworthingdome.cjb.net
* Good news for celebrities, though. Their children will be given special privacy protection in the new state database of our kids' details (Daily Telegraph, August 31). Well, they are so special, aren't they folks?
on Saturday October 21 at the Voluntary Sector Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road, London (Holloway Road tube) 10am-7pm.
Published and printed by The Porkbolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no happy ending at the pictures?