Titnore campers win more time

Mark mark at tlio.org.uk
Fri Jul 28 12:19:02 BST 2006

The Titnore woods protest site was in the High Court in London yesterday,
heres a short summary of what happened
Ref: www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/southcoast/2006/07/344531.html

TITNORE tree campers have vowed to continue their legal fight for
occupation of woodland threatened with the chop at West Durrington. At a
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. They now have until 4pm on Friday
August 11 to lodge their appeal - the day before a planned day of
solidarity protests in Worthing. The High Court in London granted
possession of land being used by the protectors of Titnore wood to the
Somerset family, this was after the Somersets struggled to prove their
ownership of the land and the court had to be adjourned.

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

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 was yesterday 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. Behaviour of local police
in the last week has been an ominous sign of a heavy-handed approach

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.

As ever we would love more people to come down and stay on site, things
are really hotting up now and it looks like this could get really

 Homepage: http://www.freewebs.com/titnore

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