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Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 19:42:35 +0100
Subject: porkbolter 47 - august 2002

Titnore Woods update - August 2002

Wood you believe it?

A NEW era of hope is dawning over the future of Titnore Woods in Durrington, threatened by property developers and their bulldozers. Well, there is if you believe Worthing Borough Council anyway, with the new Liberal Democrat regime announcing it will be pushing for the area to be included within the new National Park's boundaries to protect it.

Whether or not these fine words will turn into anything more tangible is being questioned by some cynics - more of that shortly. But one group of opponents to the development is keen to take up the mantle of positive thinking that has been conjured up by the local authority. Ye Olde Friends of Titnore have announced that they will be sending a special delegation to the home of landowner Mr Somerset on Sunday September 1 - and they want as many people as possible to come with them.

Their purpose is not to pelt his home with cow dung or pour weedkiller over his front lawn, but merely to communicate to him an excellent idea they have dreamt up. They will be handing over a special scroll inviting Mr Somerset to enter into a covenant with the people of Worthing to preserve the future of Titnore Woods "for our children, our children's children and our children's children's children".

The idea is that Mr Somerset, for all his potential money-making land deals, must in essence be a decent fair-minded man with a keen love of the countryside and concern for the welfare of the people of Worthing. It may not have occurred to him that he could quite easily decide not to flog the land off after all, and instead set it aside as a wildlife haven, a green oasis on the fringe of urban Durrington, opening up access for the good people of the borough, nurturing endangered habitats, perhaps even encouraging the return of traditional Sussex inhabitants like red squirrels or otters (there is a stream through the woods). Such a gesture would ensure that the name of his family is not tainted and tarnished forever by unsavoury associations with miles of tarmac and concrete and vanloads of riot police ensuring that the profitable destruction of our environment by the likes of millionaire crook Gerald Ronson can go ahead uninterrupted.

No, instead the name Somerset could even be given to the new green jewel on the Sussex Coast. Imagine - Somerset Woodland Trust... Somerset Squirrel Sanctuary... Somerset People's Democratic Organic Nature and Wildlife Eco-Paradise. There could be a statue of Mr Somerset himself at the entrance to the park at the south end of the now grassed-over Titnore Lane, designed to include a nesting box for small birds under each arm, to symbolise the nurturing and caring nature of the man who saved Titnore Woods - for ever!

Anyone who wants to help Ye Olde Friends of Titnore deliver this message of hope to Mr Somerset should gather at the Coach and Horses pub on the A27 Arundel Road - right at the western edge of Worthing's built-up area - on Sunday September 1 at 1pm. Fancy dress is described as "optional", with a wildlife or woodland theme suggested, and the usual banners or whatever would probably also come in handy for this symbolic occasion. Meanwhile, confusion still reigns over the council's "we'll get Titnore included in the National Park" statement.

One Durrington resident tells us he actually went along to a full council meeting on July 25 to find out what was specifically proposed and found confliciting stories and very little detailed knowledge from council leader Sheila Player and senior colleague Bob Clare. And, for all the publicity in the press, the issue wasn't even on the agenda... Campaigning group POW! (Protect Our Woodland!) has issued its own comments on the proposed National Park inclusion. It is urging its supporters to call for the whole Titnore area to be included in the National Park. "On the 19 August 2002 the Countryside Agency will advertise the draft AONB revocation orders. There will then be 28 days for us, the public, to make any objections direct to the Agency. Clearly if the Titnore Lane area isn't included those objections will be made loud and direct."

* POW! has a website at  or you can write to it c/o PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. Or get an update at the next open meeting hosted by worthing eco-action upstairs at The Downview, opp West Worthing station on Tuesday September 3 at 7.45pm.

Ye Olde Friends of Titnore invite you to join their friendly delegation to visit that nice Mr Somerset on Sunday September 1, 2002. Meet 1pm, Coach & Horses, A27 Arundel Road, Durrington

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