the pork-bolter
No 76, October 2006

Titnore Woods - the push for victory!

Big protest on October 7 - access road must be stopped!

WHEN Titnore Woods landowner Fitzroy Somerset is forced to admit that a "great victory" has been notched up by campaigners (Argus, September 21), you know that something has gone right. And the announcement from Worthing Borough Council that Titnore Lane itself "would not have to" be straightened and 210 trees "should be" spared was certainly a piece of good news.

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 (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.

Mass walk to Titnore Woods

2pm, Saturday October 7

Durrington railway station

Another prosecution fails...

YET another attempt by Sussex Police to prosecute (or should that be persecute?) a Titnore Woods protester has fallen flat on its face. The man in question was arrested at the "Death of Democracy" protest next to Northbrook College on October 29 2005 for refusing to cross the road when police ordered him to, under public order powers they claimed they were entitled to draw upon, partly because of alleged "trouble" and "arrests" at previous protests at the roundabout.

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...

Drop-off for food donations

FOOD donations for the Titnore Woods tree camp can now be made in central Worthing, at Down to Earth healthfood shop at 175 Montague Street (towards Rowlands Road) 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday.

Tunnelling into the past?

WITH the Titnore protesters busy digging a network of tunnels under their site, there are rumours they have stumbled across an old military network installed by the Canadians in the last world war. More info if we get it...

Blockade the Houses of Parliament on October 9!

IT SOUNDS like one of those ideas people come up with down the pub: "I hate the government. They're closing the bleedin' hospitals and spending trillions of bleedin' pounds dropping bombs on Iraq and Afghanistan and that. You know what, we should all just bloody go there, like, all of us, when they come back off their summer holidays, lazy ***s, and, you know, just stand there and stop them getting in." "Nice one! I'm up for it, mate!" Normally, the whole idea is forgotten on the way to the kebab shop, but in this instance it really is actually happening and is attracting snowballing interest from all over the country. It's at 1pm on Monday October 9, at... errr.. the Houses of Parliament!

Plenty to drink about at Dome...

BEHIND the bright new facade of the refurbished Worthing Dome cinema lurk some seriously dark clouds. That is the warning from campaigners, who fear that the future of the historic building as a filmhouse is far from secure, despite £1.6 million from the Heritage Lottery fund, a £600,000 Architectural Heritage Fund loan and £200,000 worth of English Heritage money.

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:

Danger signal from masts

ONCE again, a mobile phone firm is pushing through its plans for a new mast against local opposition and all common sense. T-Mobile claimed in its second application for Northbrook College in Durrington that there were "no schools noted in the vicinity". So it doesnít matter if sixth-formers get brain tumours, then? Meanwhile, a clue as to what all these masts are really for came in The Guardian on September 14, with news of how GPS tracking linked to mobile phones can pinpoint phone users 24 hours a day, wherever they are. The writer enthused about a proposed website: "When your friends log on, they can see where you are..." The trouble is, itís not just your friends! Two days later the The Daily Mail reported that CCTV camera speakers have been introduced in Middlesbrough to allow operators to bark orders at you from the control room. Needless to say, these are to be rolled out across the country. Tracked everywhere we go, harassed by remote control 'little Hitlers' in control rooms... what a rosy future lies in store!

* 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?


AS IF there weren't enough things going wrong with Worthing at the moment, they've only gone and messed up the buses! Stagecoach tried hard to present their slashing of the town service as a great step forward, heralding the absurdly named new "Pulse" service as running every ten minutes between Lancing and Durrington. Sadly, this is only true for certain times of the day, with the new and improved evening service amounting to a completely useless one bus an hour. If this is the 'Pulse' of Worthing, any trainee nurse will tell you that the patient is as good as dead...
* * *

TALKING of nurses, there is an arm-linking protest against the downgrading of Worthing Hospital on Sunday October 8, 3pm at the hospital. By the way, has nobody else noticed the irony that the campaign is being fronted by two Tory MPs, members of the very party which kicked off the assault on our NHS under the glorious reign of Empress Thatcher...?
* * *

WE WERE saddened to hear of the death of Alf Burtman of Lancing, a lifelong radical activist and, for the last few of his 90 years, a Porkbolter reader. Alf had the claim to fame of having taken part in the Battle of Cable Street in 1936, where anti-fascists took to the streets to prevent Oswald Mosley's Fascist blackshirts marching through East London. He will be missed and remembered by many.
* * *

THE NEXT two Worthing Alliance meetings, excellent occasions on which to catch up with various campaigns in town, are on the usual last Thursdays of the month (October 26 and November 30) upstairs at The Rest, Bath Place, Worthing, 8pm.
* * *

WITH revolution currently in the air in Mexico, particularly Oaxaca (see narconews) it is very timely of AK Press to have brought out "Dreams of Freedom - a Ricardo Flores Magon Reader", dedicated to this inspiring son of Oaxaca, murdered in jail in 1922. Also out from AK is the fascinating "Anarchist Voices" by Paul Avrich, an oral history of anarchism in the USA. And donít forget the 25th annual Anarchist Book Fair

on Saturday October 21 at the Voluntary Sector Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road, London (Holloway Road tube) 10am-7pm.

* * *

HURRY up! There is still just time to renew your passport before the ID-card linked price hike comes in on October 5!
* * *

ANIMAL rights supporters in Worthing are showing Behind The Mask, a video about direct action animal liberation, at the Charles Dickens pub in Heene Road on Thursday October 19, 7.45pm.

Warning: Stay away!

"THE Houses of Parliament represent the true glory of our famed British democracy," said the Minister for People Power (Prevention Thereof) yesterday. "And that's why we have made it completely illegal for anyone to hold any kind of protest anywhere near it. You have been warned, scum."

Get the pigture - subscribe!

THE PORKBOLTER is an independent newsletter for Worthing dedicated to resurrecting the corpse of democracy in this town. 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

Published and printed by The Porkbolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no happy ending at the pictures?

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

back to main index

main index