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From: "Jo Makepeace" -
Subject: SchNEWS 533, Friday 24th Feb, 2006
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 01:55:22 -0000

Tesco protest camp - Shepton Mallet (Somerset)


The protest camp to stop Tesco's building another supermarket in Shepton Mallet has gone big time with tunnels and 90-foot tree platforms - and national media coverage. Tesco's are claiming that the area is 'brownfield', but it has a mature woodland of 400 trees on it - as well as a war memorial which will also be destroyed.

Earlier this week the camp lost a High Court decision and an eviction team was assembling, but the trees would have to be felled before March 1st or else they'd be protected by bird nesting laws in the Wildlife and Countryside Act. But now it turns out Tesco's don't own part of this land until March 1st, so they'd have to bring in a new eviction process to claim the whole area. Either way destroying these trees would be illegal, and Tesco's are in no mood to see their steamroller of 'progress' halted, and could be sending in the heavies anytime.

The site includes the woodland, plus two warehouses and what was once the social rooms for those buildings - which has been squatted and is now providing heated accommodation and social space to use for the protesters as temperatures dip below zero.

After the call out (and thanks to BBC and ITV coverage), the camp has grown with an influx of campaigners - some protest camp veterans, plus new faces, as well as professional climbers, all arriving to help secure the treehouses, aerial walkways, tunnels, concrete lock-ons and more.

There is an urgent call out for people, people, climbing and building tat, tea, coffee, food etc, as eviction attempts are highly likely next week. There will be a party this Saturday night (25th) in the squatted social club on-site, with 'tunnellers, teamakers and bards' all particularly welcome.

The camp is in Shepton Mallet at the end of Station Rd, behind an industrial estate by the War Memorial.

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