Home | Friday 22nd March 2002 | Issue 347
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“The proposed reforms represent the most significant erosion of civil rights in planning by any Government since the system was introduced in 1947. The measures are an ill-considered recipe for administrative chaos. They would favour big business to the exclusion of individuals and communities fighting to make their voice heard” - www.planningdisaster.co.uk

If you’ve ever been involved in fighting a planning proposal then you’ll appreciate how bureaucratic and unfriendly the process is. When Neo-Labour came to power they made vague promises that this would change, which it has. Spurred on by their big business buddies and led by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), they’re busy pressing ahead with ‘streamlining’ the planning system to ensure that in the future planning considerations don’t get in the way of making money. The government says these changes are necessary because the pesky public has made the whole process too time consuming. So in a recent Green Paper they laid down plans to scrap public consultation altogether for big projects such as major roads, rail links, airports, power stations and incinerators. Instead decisions will be made in Westminster with only the minimum amount of parliamentary debate. For smaller proposals the process is going to be speeded up in response to “business need”, this may include things like limiting the number of objectors at public enquiries. There’s also going to be a relaxation of development controls and the introduction of ‘Business Planning Zones’- areas where businesses will have free reign to carry on building without the need for permission.


Local councils, who according to central government make poor and bureaucratic decisions, are also being cut out of the new streamlined process. Councils won’t need to produce Local Plans anymore, instead powers are now being handed over to Regional Development Agencies. These have no democratic accountability, and are stuffed full of business representatives that are more interested in new trunk roads than sustainable development.

All these changes will add to an already heavily biased system that only allows developers but not objectors to appeal against decisions they don’t like.

In Brighton the current pace of development is staggering. One of the most controversial schemes in the pipeline is the redevelopment of the Brighton Station site. The story of people’s attempts to stop business getting their hands on this land just shows what communities are up against.


IThe site, one of the largest derelict brownfield areas in the south, was formerly public land owned by British Rail. It was handed over free to Railtrack, when the railways were privatised, who in the interest of their wallets flogged it to the highest bidder, the New England Consortium (NEC) a development group including supermarket giants J. Sainsbury’s. In 1997 the consortium put in a planning application which included a Sainbury’s superstore. The local council didn’t think that the community would be interested in the application and so didn’t arrange a public consultation. Locals disagreed and formed their own group, BUDD (Brighton Urban Design and Development), who organised their own public meetings and started to draw up plans of what Brighton people wanted the site to be used for. Nobody wanted the supermarket. The Council rejected the NEC application, a decision upheld by a public enquiry, and even went as far as saying they would always reject a supermarket on the site. Unfortunately this didn’t put off Sainsbury’s and their chums who last year submitted a new ‘radical’ application, allegedly an ‘exemplar of 21st-century urban development’. It is so ‘radical’ and far out that it includes 2 hotels, a 200 space car park, offices, posh flats, crap bedsits for ‘key workers’ (nurses, teachers, etc), a language school, and, oh yeah, a supermarket! Unsurprisingly BUDD are equally opposed to this latest offering, which will do nothing to help the 15,000 odd households in the Brighton area considered in ‘housing need’, and which will also lead to increased pollution and congestion in the area. Town planning models have predicted that this heavily car dependant development will lead to a 35% rise in pollution in an area of town where nearly half of the people don’t have a car, not to mention rises in noise pollution levels.

As supermarkets appear local businesses go down the pan: it’s estimated that in the next 5 years 600 chemist shops will close as supermarkets open up their own in store chemists. Far from providing local employment as they often claim - one supermarket accounts for the loss of 276 full time jobs. A typical out-of-town superstore causes £25,000-worth of congestion, pollution and associated damage every week.

Brighton doesn’t need any new supermarkets but the Council who’ve now changed their tune reckon this is the only way they are going to get a quality development for this site. The continued involvement of Sainsbury’s in this scheme has little to do with what’s good for Brighton but more to do with ‘planning gain’ - bribery to the rest of us - Sainsbury’s are promising to build a road into the site and provide a building for community groups. This ‘planning gain’ has become a regular feature of planning laws, and result in supermarkets, office blocks and car parks in places that are well suited to low cost housing, or even being left as they are.

Right now urban development in this country is on the increase. In Brighton you can hardly pick up the local rag without reading a story about allotments or nature reserves being threatened with concrete. These new planning laws are going to ensure that communities will become increasingly passive onlookers as PLC’s take over, with direct action still being the only way left to take a stand.

* Make some noise oustide London Road Sainsbury’s, Saturday 23rd 10am.

* A decision about the application for the Brighton Station Site is due to be made by Brighton Council on 16th April, demonstrate 3:30pm outside Hove Town Hall.

* Brighton Urban Design and Development 01273-681166 www.BUDDbrighton.org

* ‘Check Out Chuck Out: A directory for campaigners against supermarket developments’ Tel: 01865-791391 www.corporatewatch.org.uk

* Campaign for Planning Sanity 0161-959--0999 www.onlincam.freeserve.co.uk


For having the audacity to believe they have the right to speak their own language - Members of the ‘Language has No Barriers’ Kurdish campaign group were this week put under coach arrest by the Romanian security forces.
250 people on eight coaches were surrounded for 24 hours and not allowed off the coaches, before being escorted to Hungary. The Romanians reaction was due to the bellicose nature of the coach party who were hoping to go to a meeting in Turkey and hand in a petition asking that fellow Kurds be allowed to speak their Mother Tongue. fedbir@yahoo.co.uk

This weekend visit the all new
on New England Road
Occupied in opposition to the planned Sainsbury’s development.
Open Friday 7-10pm for an alternative film night and on
Saturday and Sunday 12-7pm for talks, workshops and refreshments.
Info: 01273-298192 or 07799-495536


Last Saturday saw the end of the European Summit, held in Barcelona, descend into the usual rioting- plastic bullets, tear gas and baton charges from the cops and petrol bombs, cobble stones and burning banks from the protesters. The march, which organisers estimated at 500,000 strong (even though thousands of people were turned away at the border) was a noisy protest. And after over zealous cops attacked a few cheeky protestors all hell broke loose. The demo became noisier to the sound of breaking glass - banks, posh shops and fast food outlets becoming the instruments in place of drums and whistles. The match between Barcelona and Real Madrid was also disrupted for 7 minutes after activists d-locked themselves to the goalposts at the Nou Camp stadium! But what happened in the summit itself? Well, Tony Bleugh’s new best mate is Silvio Berlusconi, who has members of the M.S.I.- the modern day Italian fascist party, in his cabinet - and, more importantly, also owns 90% of the Italian media. Berlusconi, Blair and the Spanish PM, Aznar have formed their own ‘axis of evil’ in Europe to promote their ideas of privatisation of state owned utilities, eradicating workers rights and not giving a toss about the environment. A lot of this was eventually agreed on with railways, electricity and gas companies destined to be privatised by 2004 (er, too late already done that in England). Even the moderate General Secretary of the TUC John Monks denounced Blair as ‘bloody stupid’ for siding with the most right wing governments in the EU. It seems to SchNEWS that all future EU summits are going to end up the same as Barcelona and Gothenburg and with more and more workers losing their jobs maybe the black block will increase in size. For more info including photos and personal accounts check out http://barcelona.indymedia.org/ (mostly in Spanish)

*Social movements in Spain are being increasingly criminalised as their government rushes to privatise everything. Students who’ve been involved in protests against the LOU (Ley Organica de Universidades) which will privatise the higher education system, are being listed as terrorists and are being tracked down and arrested. A protest camp in Sevilla, which lasted for 50 days, was violently evicted by police last month. www.antilou.org/

*This week in Monterrey, Mexico demonstrators held a peaceful protests at the UN aid summit where 50 heads of state were due to meet with IMF and World Bank bureaucrats to talk about how to plunge the poor countries even further into debt. http://mexico.indymedia.org/

* To find out about up and coming summits around the world www.protest.net

Jo, a protestor at the Nine Ladies Anti-Quarry Campaign in Derbyshire was tragically killed eight days ago by a fire, which ripped through part of the camp below where she was sleeping. The remains of the tower have since been removed, a memorial garden built on its site and a plum tree planted in her memory. www.nineladies.uklinux.net

SchNEWS in brief

  • This Saturday (23rd) join the ‘Long March for the Climate’ - one year after Bush dumped the Kyoto Agreement. The 20 mile walk starts 7am at the ESSO HQ, Ermyn Way, near Leatherhead and ends at the US embassy in Grosvenor Square 5.30 pm. You can also join in at the final leg 3.30 pm, Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road. Info 020 88553327 www.campaignagainstclimatechange.net

  • There’s another Fun-raiser next Wednesday (27th) at the Volks Tavern, Brighton, 9pm onwards with all the usual DJ suspects – with all money raised going to a good local cause.

  • CND have organised a ‘Don’t Start Wars’ demo next Saturday (30th) 020-7700-2350 www.cnduk.org/campigns/30march.htm

  • On Monday protesters stopped a Trident nuclear weapon truck convoy for 30 minutes in the village of Balloch by Loch Lomond by getting in front of, underneath, and on top of the vehicles carrying the warheads. 13 people were arrested including one person who tried to super-glue himself to the convoy. Ouch! Nukewatch commented: “It is absolutely vital that we draw public attention to this criminally dangerous road traffic” www.nukewatch.com Tel: 07715 538652 or 0775 1477628

  • Help is needed in Essex to save over 100 trees that would be chopped to make way for a new road. Two Houses need to be squatted by Good Friday, they really need people to come and live-in (there’s room for 10 people). For more info call: 0776 1975701 email: noroad2002uk@yahoo.co.uk

  • Wales is finally GM-free now that a Flintshire farm has not been selected to run a third year of crop trials.

  • There’s a public inquiry into the pro’s and con’s of the building of a Lamberhurst bypass on 23rd April at Bewl Water Visitors Centre, Lamberhurst. www.lamberhurstbypass.com

  • From 29th March to 3rd April there will be a Women’s Peace Camp outside Sellafield Nuclear Site. Info: 07751-450482, mia_kat@yahoo.com - This will be followed by a mixed peace camp (4th - 8th) Info: 20-8546-7795, info@youthstudentcnd.org.uk

The getting-more-regular-get-together of Brighton’s direct action crew.
Discussion: ‘Concentration Camp Britain’ - asylum seekers & racism & how this
links with the fight against capitalism.
Wednesday 27th March, 7pm
upstairs at the Prince Albert Pub, Trafalgar Street.

Inside SchNEWS

Donnie MacLeod, an organic farmer from Ardesier, near Inverness, has been jailed for 21 days for contempt of court. He admitted that he’d been present at the trashing of a GM farm scale trial at Rives Farm, Munlochy in June last year, but refused to point out anyone else who took part in the action. There will be a march this Saturday in support of Donnie from Inverness centre to the prison where he’s held. Meet 11am outside Marks & Spencer, Inverness. Send letters and cards of support to Donnie MacLeod, 73125, B Hall, HM Prison Porterfield, Inverness, IV2 3HH.

The Munlochy Vigil has been watching over a GM field in Scotland since last year. The camp now has planning permission. Contact them GM Protest Caravan The lay-by near Roskill Farm, Munlochy, Ross-shire, Scotland IV8 8PA www.gmfreescotland.net

* Last week Spanish prisoners went on hunger strike to protest against invasive FIES units and to demand better prison conditions. FIES are isolation units in which prisoners are subjected to constant surveillance. Mail and phone calls are monitored, belongings are always being inspected, and torture is commonplace. The hunger strikers want: an end to FIES and all the isolation units; the end of dispersal where prisoners are sent far away from their hometowns, families and friends; the release of all prisoners with incurable illness like AIDS and Cancer and the release of all prisoners who have spent more than 20 years inside. The ultimate goal of this solidarity action is to completely shut down the prison system as part of radical social change.
ABC Spain: Cruz Negra Anarquista Secc Iberica, Paseo Alberto Palacio #2, CP 28021 Villaverde Alto, Madrid, Spain

* Paul Robinson, who was recently released from a Swedish prison where he has been in jail since the EU Summit protests in Gothernberg last June (SchNEWS 310) has been sacked from his job. Paul worked as a library attendant at UCL college for over 3 years and his union are appealing against the decision.

* Last Friday Dogan Tokmak became the 88th person to die in Turkey in a hunger strike against the new prison isolation cells. RIP.


With the new roads programme around the corner the direct action crew are getting their act together. A gathering is being organised in Nottingham from 19-21st April to plan tactics. Friday 19th- from 7pm food, and preliminary meeting. Sat 20th- Update briefing on new road schemes and corporate links. Planning tactics and response. Sun 21st- meeting space for those wishing to build further on the day before. At Sumac Centre, 245 Gladstone street, Nottingham, NG7 6HX contact: 07813 505480 endoftheroad@hushmail.com. Bring: ideas, information, propaganda, bedding, roll mats (crash space will be provided), money for food and a contribution towards venue hire.


Police in Mexico, obviously intent on a bit of confrontation decided, in their wisdom, to raid a market at the heart of Chiapas to protect the interests of multi-nationals. Chiapas is a state in Mexico which the Zapatistas are fighting to make autonomous. This bunch of state-sponsored, heavily armed lunatics marched in with riot gear to combat poor people selling counterfeit tapes and CDs in San Cristobal de las Casas, one of the towns taken during the Zapatista uprising of 1994. The indigenous people of Chiapas didn’t take too kindly to this and retaliated by breaking into various shops for a bit of wealth redistribution and torching two police vehicles. The chaos did not last long, as the kill-joys came back with reinforcements, riot shields, helmets and tear gas and set about beating and arresting people.


Despite government targets to ‘remove’ 600 asylum seekers per week, and negative influences from the mainstream media, there are groups established and developing all over the country who want to show solidarity and support to people here seeking asylum and build links to benefit us all. In Gorton in January a ‘Welcome to Manchester’ event was held to bring people together with music, food, information and children’s activities. As well as showing friendship, the idea was to provide a space for people to meet each other and develop joint responses to common difficulties. www.beyondtv.org.uk/gorton
* National Conference to Defend Asylum Seekers this Saturday (23rd) in Manchester 07941-566183 www.ncadc.org.uk

...and finally...

SchNEWS loves it when governments get their priorities right. So hats off to the French for removing protestors’ banners from above the Chamonix tunnel – because they are apparently unsafe. Unlike the 6,000 trucks a day that will soon tear down the valley when the road re-opens. ugatza@gmx.net

SchNEWS warns anyone who's lost the plot it would be a crazy plan not to take us away in a Paddick wagon. Honest.

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