MEP BACKS TREETOP BID TO SAVE ANCIENT WOODS
COUNCIL AND DEVELOPERS SHOULD GO ‘BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD’
GREEN Party Euro-MP Caroline Lucas has given her support to a tree-top
protest to prevent the destruction of ancient woodland near Worthing, West
Dr Lucas said Worthing Council, the landowners and the developers should sit
down with local environmentalists and look again at plans to build almost
900 homes in West Durrington.
“The protest camp has struck a chord with nearby residents, who are fiercely
opposed to the planned development and are frustrated at the lack of further
official channels for fighting the proposals,” said Dr Lucas, Green Party
MEP for South-East England.
“The popular support for the protest should ring an alarm with everyone
involved in the project and prompt them to go back to the drawing board.”
The South-East England Green Party MEP made her comments as some 20
environmentalists celebrated nearly two weeks in a makeshift camp at Titnore
Woods. The protestors, who have now constructed a network of treehouses and
a kitchen – with plans for a second camp in hand – have been overwhelmed by
support from nearby residents and sympathy from the local, national and even
They are protesting against plans to build the ‘West Durrington
development’, an 875-home estate which will destroy ancient woodland –
including oaks and ashes – at Titnore Lane, West Durrington.
The proposed development was granted planning permission by Worthing Council
– despite more than 4,000 local residents signing a petition – delivered by
Dr Lucas – opposed to the plan.
Local environmentalists, who argue permission was granted on the basis of
misleading information and in the face of water shortages and insufficient
local infrastructure to support the estate’s projected population, decided
to take to the trees after all ‘official’ channels for objection had been
The council argues there is a need for new housing, but local Greens argue
we should make better use of existing sites before building homes in the
countryside – especially such an important site. Pressure group Community
Action for Empty Homes reckons there are seven empty homes for every
homeless household in the UK. Locals have argued there are more than 1,000
empty homes in nearby Worthing alone.
Titnore Woods are one of the final few remaining ancient woodlands in
Sussex: one of only two surviving on the Sussex coastal plain and home to a
number of protected species, including newts, bats, badgers, skylarks and
A 2005 report by The Woodland Trust and WWF revealed that more than 100 of
the country’s most important ancient woods are facing destruction.
Dr Lucas added: “Over-development is one of the commonest causes of
complaint I receive: people are sick of seeing acre after acre of
countryside being lost to houses, roads and runways.
“Titnore Woods is a unique and important piece of countryside and it must be
preserved for future generations.”