AN ENERGETIC expansion bid has been launched by the Titnore Woods campers in Worthing, West Sussex, with eviction still not attempted. Urgently needed is more timber and polyprop rope (6mm is best) and tarpaulins for tree houses etc, plus, on a more mundane level, supplies of toilet paper and real coffee.
If eviction takes place, supporters are being asked to go as soon as possible to the camp, congregating in Fulbeck Avenue, Durrington, if access is barred. Then on the first Saturday after any eviction there will be a protest against eviction and against development. Fulbeck Avenue, Durrington. 12 noon.
Regardless of the eviction situation, there will be a "mass moblisation" for all supporters of the camp and opponents of the development on Saturday October 7. Gather 2pm at Durrington rail station to descend (or ascend?) en masse on Titnore Woods.
Eviction is still obviously expected at any time and information has been gained on the firms who will be trying to force the protesters off the ancient woodland they are trying to protect.
The involvement of supermarket giant Tesco in the development has been known all along - it wants to build a massive new store next to the 875-home estate and it is rumoured that the disastrous road widening in Titnore Lane has been arranged purely for its delivery lorries coming off the A27.
Another coincidence was that the legal papers served on the camp all turned up in special plastic bags marked "Tesco". And it has now emerged that the eviction will be handled, again coincidentally, by the same two firms used by Tesco in its eviction of the Shepton Mallet anti-Tesco protest site.
The bailiffs are Sherforce, based in Braintree, Essex. Tel 0845 890 9205, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.sherforce.net They have apparently never handled a site involving tunnels before and people might want to ask them how they propose to do so. The specialist climbers being used are Highline Access of Bristol (tel 0870 0435531).
Titnore protesters have invited the bailiffs to a health and safety meeting, as is standard procedure in many protest sites, but they were not interested.
A CALL-OUT for help has been made by the Camp Titnore protesters in Worthing, West Sussex, who fear an eviction attempt is likely to be made this week.
On Tuesday an appeal into the eviction order issued by the High Court in London was lost. High Court bailiffs with their specialist climbing teams and cherry pickers, backed by police, could move in at any time now.
Fears of a speedy eviction attempt were raised on Saturday when a police helicopter hovered over the camp for some time, clearly assessing numbers on site. Those with experience of other sites say this usually happens a couple of days before eviction. Indeed, the helicopter also visited Camp Titnore two days before the original court hearing, on July 27, at which the starting pistol could well have been fired for eviction itself, had it not been for the unexpected leave to appeal.
The protest camp, against an 875-home development, road widening and new Tesco on green land, including ancient woodland, began on May 28. It has attracted huge public support locally, with Worthing residents disgusted at the way Worthing Borough Council has ignored overwhelming opposition to the plan and meekly bowed down to the interests of the landowners and the property developers.
Protesters have vowed to stay in the tree camp to the bitter end, deploying "passive resistance" to the small army of hired thugs expected to be sent in against them. Anyone who can help is urged to get down to the camp in time for the possible eviction. Food, money and more polyprop rope is also needed.
ON FRIDAY August 11 an appeal was successfully lodged with the High Court against the eviction order obtained by the landowners, the Somersets, against the Titnore tree camp in Worthing.
Camp representatives also appeared before a judge and won a stay of execution on the eviction until the appeal is held on Tuesday August 29. So the camp is still very much in business and needs your support!
On Saturday August 12 two successful protests were held in support of the tree camp. First, some 50 cyclists, with police escort, rode en masse from Goring station to Worthing Pier, via Titnore Lane. Then a larger protest of around 200 gathered at Worthing Pier and embarked on an impromptu march up South Street and Chapel Road, to the Town Hall, where they were addressed by campaigners and tree campers. The message was clear - the fight goes on.
At the original High Court hearing on Thursday July 27, senior official Master Turner gave them leave to appeal against his decision to grant a possession order to landowners Fitzroy and Clem Somerset.
The main point of contention at the civil hearing was whether the High Court had jurisdiction to hear it - such matters are usually dealt with by county courts. The Somersets were claiming they could go to High Court because there was "a substantial risk of public disturbance or of serious harm to persons or property which properly require immediate attention”. The defendants from the camp denied this was the case, pointing to the peaceful nature of their protest and their belief in non-violent direct action. But Master Turner found that the prospect of "passive resistance" to eviction, involving people in treetop positions, fulfilled the criteria and he compared the situation to the protests against the Newbury Bypass in the 1990s. He said the removal of protesters would be "extremely expensive" and "it will require what are known as cherry pickers, the use of chainsaws to cut away trees" and "will obviously go on for several days".
On the matter of the immediacy, he said: "The longer this occupation continues, the more expensive it all becomes and the more difficult to evict those on the land". Master Turner added that the county court bailiffs did not have the financial resources or the expertise and skills to carry out such an eviction, while the High Court bailiffs were "capable of planning a properly organised exercise".
Earlier in the hearing, Mr Jones, counsel for the Somersets, said the matter needed to be dealt with urgently through the High Court because in September the period for starting a judicial review against planning permission for the development would expire. It was hoped to start work on the 875-home estate as soon as possible after that point, he said.
Added Mr Jones: "This is, for the claimants, a matter of pressing concern and a matter which involves substantial amounts of money."
Meanwhile, Worthing Borough Council has been threatened with a Judicial Review - possibly in the High Court - that would be based on the decision of the Development Control Committee to recommend the approval of alterations to Titnore Lane, as part of its decision to grant outline planning permission for the development at West Durrington. The council have been told that the evidence submitted to their Development Control Committee, and presented at its meeting on March 28th, was defective in five main areas.
Barristers acting for the claimant, The Worthing Society, have stated that if legal proceedings are required, a quashing order will be sought from the Court quashing the grant of planning permission WB/04/00040/OUT together with an order for costs.
Campers are appealing for people to get down to the site and help them protect this ancient woodland from developers. The behaviour of local police in recent weeks has been an ominous sign of a heavy-handed approach ahead.
One day before the High Court hearing, police resorted to dirty tricks in what is now clearly a concerted campaign against the campers. Whatever happened to the impartial community policing approach they have been presenting to the media?
The little piece of political policing on Wednesday July 26 saw campers told by building supplies firm Travis Perkins in nearby Patching that they were no longer prepared to take their money! This was because some non-political cops had visited the firm and told them the campers were "extremists" and they should not sell them anything!
The Sussex Police helicopter was also sent to circle the camp this afternoon, for no obvious reason.
Campers have made a request for as many people to spend time at the site as possible. Nobody knows when an eviction might be attempted, but it seems the police and the Guardian security goons are all spoiling for a fight and just can't wait to crush the spark of resistance that has been burning so brightly in Titnore Woods.
Opponents of the development have revealed they were all videoed by the police when they attended last week's Worthing Borough Council meeting. Is it now criminal behaviour to attend local authority meetings?
Titnore Woods landowner Clem Somerset employed private security guards with video cameras to try and scare visitors away from the protest camp's open day on Saturday (July 15).
The uniformed staff from Ferring-based Guardian security also tried to hand out slips of paper warning people they were trespassing, adding: "If you choose to enter this land, you do so entirely at your own risk." Guardian is the security firm involved in trying to stiffle opposition to the EDO weapons parts factory in Brighton. But the move failed to intimidate camp supporters, a steady flow of whom turned up throughout the day to visit the camp and try their hand at various skills, such as making benders (shelters) and bows and arrows.
With public support for the camp in Worthing, West Sussex, very strong, it has also been announced that a Day of Action in support of Camp Titnore is to be staged on Saturday August 12. A critical mass cycle ride has been called by Bikes Against Bulldozers, gathering at 12 noon at Goring-by-Sea railway station (main line between Brighton and Portsmouth). And at 2pm that afternoon there will be a town centre protest at Worthing Pier.
The battle to save Titnore Woods from a massive 875-home housing estate, road widening and associated new Tesco hypermarket has been waged locally for around five years. On May 28 this year, with final planning permission looming, protesters moved onto the site in a dawn manoeuvre and set up a treetop protest camp.
* Protect Our Woodland is urging supporters to attend Worthing Borough Council's planning meeting at 2.30pm on Tuesday July 18. On the agenda is the council's Masterplan for Worthing, including the future of the West Durrington site and this could be a great opportunity to express opposition to the scheme. The meeting is at the town hall in Chapel Road, Worthing.
MORE than 100 people packed into a vibrant public meeting in Worthing on Thursday night, July 6, to show their support for the Titnore Woods tree camp - and now they have been invited to an open day at the occupied Sussex site.
The function room at the Charles Dickens pub in Heene Road was full to overflowing, as the huge levels of public backing for the campaign against the West Durrington development became clear.
Said Dave Phillips of worthing eco-action, which organised the event: "We were totally overwhelmed by the numbers of people that turned out for this. I think the council and developers have really underestimated the levels of opposition to their plans for Titnore Woods. We were also impressed by the wide variety of people who attended - they really did come from all age groups and all walks of life."
The supporters heard informative speeches by local historian and former county councillor Chris Hare, Chris Todd of the South Downs Campaign, and also by local campaigners.
But the biggest applause and cheers were reserved for the young members of the tree camp themselves, whose occupation of the threatened woods clearly had the enthusiastic support of all those present.
The campers also issued an invitation to the audience to join them at an open day at the camp on Saturday July 15. Starting at 12 noon, this will feature workshops on bender making, camp cookery and other practical skills, as well as a talk on anarchism, the philosophical basis of the direct action movement.
Anyone wanting to attend the camp who needs directions should go to www.protectourwoodland.co.uk or www.eco-action.org/porkbolter
The camp was set up at dawn on May 28 in an attempt to halt the proposed 875-home estate, road widening and associated Tesco supermarket.
A video of the camp can be found on the Schnews website.