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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 23:00:43 +0100


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?

The 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, 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!
2pm, Sunday May 26

Titnore Lane entrance to Northbrook College, Durrington, just north of A259 and Goring-by-Sea railway station

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