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From: "Jo Makepeace" (webmaster@schnews.org.uk)
Subject: SchNEWS Issue 546 - Friday 2nd June
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2006 20:34:52 +0100

GETTING ON THEIR TITS

Titnore Woods camp fighting eviction - Worthing (Surrey)

As the campaign to save Titnore Woods near Worthing, Sussex reaches it's endgame, protestors have seized an area of woodland and built a tree camp. Landowner Clem Somerset was surprised and perplexed by the sudden appearance of tree houses in the woods at 6.30 on Sunday morning.

Since then the camp has grown and attracted a lot of local support, building on the widespread campaign to save the woodland from development. This is a struggle with wide local support.

Police reaction, after circling in a helicopter during the afternoon, was to try and evict the camp on Sunday evening under Section 61 of our old friend the CJA 1994 (see SchNEWS 1-187). However faced with a rapid retreat on to the increasingly sturdy platforms and a lot of local media interest they backed down and claimed that the incident had been merely 'a health and safety visit'.

Worthing District Commander Jason Taylor said, "As far as the police are concerned we have a situation which is, at the moment, legitimate. People are protesting lawfully and are not causing particular problems. They're causing problems for the landowner and he can go to court - but at this stage I'm not going to endanger the protesters or people in the area by enforcing the removal of people."

The camp is nearly a week old and despite attempts by the landowner Lord Somerset, including digging ditches and putting up fences to prevent access onto the disputed land, and sending his farmhands to spray muck on the fields next to the camp, the site is getting stronger. Ill-advisedly Lord Somerset has employed Mark Lynch, toothbrush moustache sporting head of Guardian Security of EDO/MBM fame.(see SchNEWS 508)

One local protestor told SchNEWS "It is quite clear to most Worthing people that something had to be done to stop Worthing council and the developers getting away with this horrific 875-home scheme, with its associated damaging road widening. Having seen all the campaigners' efforts ignored by the council and the government, which refused to hold a public inquiry, some people got together and decided it was time to take action. This is our last big chance to really get across the power and size of our opposition to the development. Let's make it quite clear to the bullies in the town hall and the corporate boardrooms that it's not just a few dozen protesters they're up against - it's thousands of Worthing people determined to play our part in stopping the Titnore devastation."

Here's how you can help -

* Join the camp! No reservations are necessary. Just turn up with a sleeping bag and stay as long as you like!

* Practical help - Are you a dab hand with a hammer or a spade? Want to help improving, decorating or securing the camp?

* Materials - Stuff like wood, rope of any kind, nails, food (preferably not meat or dairy), tools fresh water and so on.

* Physical presence - It is still very possible that an illegal and violent eviction of the camp may be attempted. Can you spare a few hours on-site? Even just popping in to say 'hello' is important.

* Spread the word - Tell your friends, family and neighbours. Get texting or phoning. Write to the papers to say you support the camp! Call the local radio stations!

* Office space - a dry indoor space in the area is needed to use as an office - preferably with a phone line.

* Financial help - Many thanks to those who have made essentials contributions, but there will continuing costs. How about organising a fundraising event.

Directions

The camp is in woods just north of "Somerset Lake", a fishing lake east of Titnore Lane.

BY TRAIN/ FOOT - Nearest station is Goring by Sea with direct trains from Brighton, Portsmouth and London. Walk north from the station and cross north across the roundabout with the A259. You are in Titnore Lane, then turn right after approx mile onto Titnore Way. Go down to the roundabout and turn left past the pub. At the end of the road go down the footpath and left through a gap in the hedge (with new ditch) Walk past the big clump of trees and the camp should be visible.

BY ROAD - A23 westwards from Brighton. Come off at the junction (after Durrington) signposted A280 Littlehampton. Turn immediately left onto the road marked Goring/Ferring. This is Titnore Lane. After approx mile turn left into Titnore Way and follow directions above.

Camp phone - 07804 245324.


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