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
If youve ever been involved in fighting a planning proposal
then youll 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),
theyre busy pressing ahead with streamlining the
planning system to ensure that in the future planning considerations
dont 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. Theres 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 wont 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 dont 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 peoples 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. Sainsburys. In 1997 the consortium put in a planning
application which included a Sainburys superstore. The local
council didnt think that the community would be interested
in the application and so didnt 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 didnt put off Sainsburys
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 dont have
a car, not to mention rises in noise pollution levels.
As supermarkets appear local businesses go down the pan: its
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 doesnt need any new supermarkets but the Council
whove 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 Sainsburys in this scheme has little to do
with whats good for Brighton but more to do with planning
gain - bribery to the rest of us - Sainsburys 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 PLCs take over,
with direct action still being the only way left to take a stand.
* Make some noise oustide London Road Sainsburys, Saturday
* 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
ARREST OF THE WEEK
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.
This weekend visit the all new
on New England Road
Occupied in opposition to the planned Sainsburys 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 Bleughs 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 whove
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
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
Theres 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
CND have organised a Dont 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
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 (theres room for 10 people). For more info
call: 0776 1975701 email: email@example.com
Wales is finally GM-free now that a Flintshire farm
has not been selected to run a third year of crop trials.
Theres a public inquiry into the pros and cons
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 Womens Peace
Camp outside Sellafield Nuclear Site. Info: 07751-450482,
firstname.lastname@example.org - This
will be followed by a mixed peace camp (4th - 8th) Info: 20-8546-7795,
The getting-more-regular-get-together of Brightons
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.
Donnie MacLeod, an organic farmer from Ardesier, near Inverness,
has been jailed for 21 days for contempt of court. He admitted that
hed 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 hes 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
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.
OF THE ROAD
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 email@example.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 didnt 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
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 childrens 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.
* National Conference to Defend Asylum Seekers this Saturday (23rd)
in Manchester 07941-566183 www.ncadc.org.uk
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
SchNEWS warns anyone who's lost the plot it would be a crazy plan
not to take us away in a Paddick wagon. Honest.
issues 51 - 100 £4.50 inc. postage.
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The SchQUALL book at only £7 + £1.50 p&p. (US Postage
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SchNEWS and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures
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You can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the
ISBN 09529748 4 3.
In the UK you can get 2, 3, 4 & 5 for £20 inc. postage.
to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons,
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All the above books are available from the Brighton Peace Centre,
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