Home | Friday 21st August 2009 | Issue 688
The threat of eviction seems to be looming larger over the protest camp at Tinore Woods (See SchNEWS 672). This week the site was invaded by police under the guise of a ‘health and safety’ check. The TesCops seemed more out to video everyone, initimidate, in-terror-gate and generally size up an all out attack on the site, so inconveniently protecting ancient woodland from ruinous development plans.
It can be no coincidence that this comes just weeks after the poor just-trying-to-earn-an-honest-living-guv grocers finally overcame all legal hurdles to get the official go-ahead for the store.
It’s Tesco standard operating procedure to use its team of crack lawyers and deep pockets to bully and threaten anyone attempting to muscle in or derail any sweet deal they’ve got going.
Using the same firms of consultants that the council use (councils are forced to pick from a goverment-approved shortlist of firms, most already in the employ of Tesco – but hey, no conflict!) they launch PR campaigns full of mis-truths and creative statistics, and conduct ‘independent’ surveys full of biased questions, all to manufacture ‘evidence’ of the desperate need and support for the new store - which can all be presented to counter the unconvinced. They are then happy to sweat out any opposition by fighting endless legal battles, tweaking plans to extend the planning objection process, and sitting by until the opposition runs out of funds and the will to live.
And if that doesn’t work, they can always bend a few ears in Westminister and get the government to overrule any denial of planning permission. Variations of these tactics are almost certainly now being played out in a town near you (for an idea of just how many battles there are going on round the country see www.tescopoly.com)
Back in Titnore, rumours are circulating that Worthing Borough Council are shortly to give the final go-ahead for the 875-home housing development and that the camp will be cleared by force before work starts, possibly as soon as October.
The campers are appealing for all those who have supported them during their three-year marathon protest to make the effort to come and visit them now - before it’s too late.