CAMP Titnore, the treetop protest camp in Worthing, is still going strong, five weeks on. The aim is to halt a massive house building and road widening scheme threatening ancient woodland near the West Sussex town. Latest news here!
Wednesday June 21
ARE landowners the Somersets resorting to dirty tricks to try and force the protesters out of the woods? The Argus reports today they were trying to blame the campers for a digger being driven into a pond some distance from the camp. Needless to say, the camp knows nothing of this incident and would hardly set about polluting the environment it is there to protect! This was obviously clear to Sussex Police, who told the paper: "The finger has been pointed at the protesters, but if they are environmentalists it seems unlikely they would want to do that."
A certain tension as a result of the allegations was increased today by the police helicopter hovering very low over the camp. There was also a visit by environmental health officers, accompanied by police.
A report in local newspaper The Worthing Guardian at the weekend quoted Worthing Council's assistant director of planning James Appleton as saying final outline permission for the development was "two to three weeks away", with an agreement envisaged between landowners, council and developers.
A public meeting is to be held in support of Camp Titnore. It will be at 7.30pm on Thursday July 6 at the Friends Meeting House in Mill Road, West Worthing. Supporters are urged to come along - and bring their friends.
Saturday June 17
LATEST additions to the wish list - bow saw blades, paraffin, thermos flasks, solar powered lights, builders' nets. Meanwhile, supplies of polyprop rope (8mm, 10mm and 12mm) are very welcome as the camp expands.
Friday June 16
SUPPORTERS of Camp Titnore travelled to Crawley, to the offices of Taylor Woodrow, one of the three property developers behind the West Durrington scheme. They unfurled a banner outside the building then went into the reception area and handed over a letter, mounted on tree-shaped card, addressed to chief executive Iain Napier.
The letter stated: "You should know that the protesters are very determined and also very well connected. Do not expect opposition to the development to simply melt away, under any circumstances. It is, in fact, likely to intensify.
"In light of this, we feel you may consider it would suit your company's interests to withdraw your involvement in the proposed development. In terms of spiralling costs, inconvenience and sheer bad publicity for Taylor Woodrow, we would suggest that continued collaboration with this hugely destructive and unpopular scheme would be a dramatic own goal for your business."
Tuesday June 13
THE camp is now well established and growing in size and efficiency. There is now a two-storey tree house with fully fitted carpet! Messages of support continue to flood in from near and far. With the crucial settling-in phase now completed, there is growing confidence that Camp Titnore is here to stay for the long term. Keep the support coming and this development can still be halted!
11pm, Monday June 5
THE MOOD is very positive in the camp as the ninth day of on-site protesting is completed. Current priorities on the wishlist (see below) are still large beams of wood and 10mm polyprop rope, plus chains and D-locks. Paints and materials for banner making are also requested, plus citronella (mosquito repellant!) and tea tree oil. Loads of straw would also be useful for laying on pathways (so it doesn't have to be particularly fresh).
Sunday June 4
AS DAWN broke this morning, the tree camp protesters notched up their first whole week in Titnore Woods. Well done to everyone involved. This is just the start!
Thursday June 1
PROTESTERS at the camp said today they were totally delighted with the support they were receiving from local people. Please keep the visits coming. Most needed at the moment are large beams of wood. Also on the wish list are woodchip, sawdust, knife sharpener, harnesses/carabiners, beelays/climbing rope, batteries, credit for camp phone (0780 4245324), waterproof clothes, Marmite, first aid kit, herbal tea and funnel.
Financial donations can be made at the camp (ring number above if you can't find it!) or by sending a cheque payable to "The Porkbolter" to PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ.
Support the tree camp on Saturday (June 3) from 11am in Montague Place, Worthing town centre. Helpers needed.
Wednesday May 31
CAMPERS are preparing for their fourth night in the woods. Supporters are visiting the site and bringing some supplies - but more are badly needed (see below).
It has emerged that yesterday landowner Clem Somerset sent his farmhands to spray muck on the fields next to the camp - to irritate the protesters or to deter visitors? It didn't work, in any case. Meanwhile, there was an amusing incident involving a police car getting stuck in the mud...
Tuesday May 30
POLICE appear to have backtracked on their claim that the Titnore tree protesters were acting illegally and would be evicted without civil court proceedings.
The eco-activists occupied the woods on Sunday morning to try and halt the destructive West Durrington development, including a 875-home estate, new Tesco superstore and road widening.
On Sunday evening police delivered written warnings saying they would be evicted under legislation normally used against travellers.
But a report in The Argus today (Tuesday May 30), quoting the local police chief, states: "Worthing District Commander Jason Taylor said officers served notice for their removal on Sunday evening as a precautionary measure. He said there were no plans to remove the protesters unless any offences were committed. He 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 has already attracted widespread corporate media interest, including two articles in The Argus, the lead slot on Monday night's BBC South Today TV news, items on Southern FM and BBC Southern Counties radio, a piece on The Sun's website and even an article on the website of the Orlando Sentinel in Florida.
Reaction from the media, as from the Worthing public, has been positive. The same issue of The Argus declared in an editorial comment that it was "refreshing" to see "Titnore Wood dissenters standing up to the Establishment". It added: "It appears this treetop demonstration is being conducted lawfully and this can only be a good thing for democracy."
Tonight the protesters were appealing for "loads and loads" more 10-12mm polypropylene rope, urgent financial donations and supplies of vegan food.
Sunday May 28
POLICE are threatening to evict a tree top protest camp in ancient Sussex woodland.
The protesters have occupied part of Titnore Woods in Durrington, Worthing, in a brave bid to halt the massive planned housing development and road widening.
They moved onto the land off Titnore Lane early on Sunday May 28 in an audacious dawn operation.
The landowners, the Somerset family, turned up during the morning to tell them to leave and have already draughted in Mark Lynch of Guardian Guards security, notorious for his intimidation of peace protesters at the Brighton EDO weapons parts factory.
Luckily the protesters had already built tree house structures, meaning a quick and easy eviction was out of the question. Police also arrived at the camp during the morning and la
ter the Sussex Police helicopter was circling the site. Locals from the nearby estate have been visiting the protesters and voicing their support.
As a result, the Somersets have been digging ditches and erecting barbed wire fences to try and keep out the supporters.
Police returned to the camp at around 8pm and announced that, under legislation normally deployed against travellers, they had the power to clear the site. They said the campers had an hour to vacate the woods before they returned to enforce their order. Campers' possessions were hurriedly lifted into the trees and the protesters retreated into the high branches as night fell. Said a protester: "Tomorrow is a bank holiday. If at all possible, please consider going to the camp early in the morning - from dawn. Bring video cameras or cameras if you can get hold of them, or otherwise just be there to witness what happens." Speaking on the background, he added: "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 damaging as
sociated road widening.
"Having seen all the efforts by campaigners 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."
The camp is asking for the following help:
* Moral support. Just popping in to say ‘hello’ is important.
* Practical help. Are you a dab hand with a hammer or a spade? Want to help improving, decorating or securing the camp?
* Gifts. Stuff like wood, blue rope, nails, food (preferably not meat or dairy), fresh water and so on.
* Physical support. 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?
* Voice your support. There will probably be criticism of the protest voiced by politicians in the local media. Write to the papers to say you support the camp! Phone the local radio stations!
* Spread the word. Tell your friends, family and neighbours. Send an email to everyone in your address book! Get texting or phoning.
* Office space. The protesters are appealing for a dry indoor space in the area to use as an office - preferably with a phone line.
* Financial support. Many thanks to those who have already made a contribution - without you this would not have been possible. But there will obviously continue to be costs to be met to keep the effort going. How about organising a fundraising jumble sale or coffee morning?
* Join the camp! Got some time on your hands? No reservations are necessary. Just turn up with a sleeping bag and stay as long as you like!
UPDATE - Monday May 29, 9am.
POLICE did not return during the night. The protesters are asking for people to come and bring them more tarpaulins, polyprop rope, climbing harnesses and 100mm nails. But most of all they need PEOPLE there to back them up.
The camp is in woods just north of "Somerset Lake", a fishing lake east of Titnore Lane. Easiest access is from Fulbeck Avenue, off Titnore Way. Take the path at the far east of Fulbeck Avenue, then turn left until there is a large gap in the hedgerow on the left, opposite a cleared square of ground on the right, and cross right over to the far side of the field, keeping the clump of trees to your left.
It can also be reached via the car park at Tesco's in Durrington, which is served by no 3 and 4 buses from Worthing central railway station. Basically head straight on from the entrance to the fields at the back end of the supermarket car park, reaching the gap in the hedgerow mentioned above.
Nearest railway station is Goring by Sea on the main South Coast line with direct trains from Brighton, Portsmouth and London. There is a camp phone - 0780 4245324.