Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006
Dead Woman's Bottom
A tree-protestor tries to evade bailiffs at Dead Woman's Bottom. Photo by Nick Cobbing

News And Other Busyness

National Breakdown

A special round-up of ecological direct action protest across the country

Squall 16, Summer 1998, pg. 14.

Crystal Palace

THERE'S NOTHING BETTER than escaping the city on a nice summer's evening and relaxing in a park. But often it gets a bit boring. So Bromley Council have come up with the great idea of building a 20 screen multiplex cinema with nine bar/diner restaurants and various retail outlets in the middle of Crystal Palace Park on the site of the old eponymous, and alas no more, building.

Walking is also a bit tiring. So Bromley have thoughtfully allowed 964 car parking spaces as well. As trees can get in the way of a good drive 150 are to be axed.

But some protestor-types don't approve and are out to spoil the fun!

They've collected five thousand signatures to support their rebellious stance and started occupying the site. Bastards.

Now they need climbers, builders, tunnellers, musicians, artists and tat, timber, tarps, tents, cooking equipment, clothes, tools etc.

So, if you are one of the above, be warned. Don't take the train from London's Victoria Station to Crystal Palace; or the tube to Brixton and then the number three bus. And don't ring 0181 761 7826 for an update.


Derby Road Protest

THE BASS RECREATION GROUND was donated to the people of Derby by renowned brewer Thomas Bass in 1876 with land added in the early '70s. But it makes the perfect spot to build a new roundabout and cut a road through.

Now, the new roundabout replaces an old one which is being turned into a multi-storey car park with room for between two and three thousand vehicles.

The new car park is being built to service a new shopping centre which is being built, wait for it…. on the site of a bus station.

A few trees, well 100, will have to feel the sharp end of an axe, but what price progress?

Four tree houses have been established by protestors and a base camp. It appears there is plenty of food and room for more.

Contact: Dorothy Skrytek, 01332 727237 or email tim@bear.demon.co.uk.


Ashton Court Protest

DUNFORD QUARRY is to be expanded into a public park near Bristol. Twenty acres of parkland are under threat from Australian multinational Pioneer Aggregates. A wildflower meadow is in the way, but it's alright because the company are going to transplant it a mile away.

This technique has a very high success rate of about, er... zero. The new water meadow site is inhabited by badgers who had been evicted but have reoccupied their sets.

It all makes perfect sense, if you possess an industrial capitalist point of view.

For those who don't, there is a camp undergoing a drive to increase population. Camp mobile: 0467 430 211


Dead Woman's Bottom

POLICE quoting Section 13 of the 1965 Land Rights Act evicted protestors occupying Dead Woman's Bottom in January.

They seemed to think this allowed them to do without the hassle of going to court and bothering with legal summonses. It doesn't and the eviction was probably illegal.

The Bottom, near Nunney, in Frome, stands in the way of the Bull's Green link road giving Tarmac easier access to Halecombe Quarry.

Some camps were on private land owned by local landowners opposed to the road. Protestors say one woman was dragged off, her kids left alone, screaming, and a doctor was assaulted by bailiffs on his own land.

Approximately two-thirds of the road is being financed by Tarmac with the rest to be met by the taxpayer.

Charges against arrested protestors were later dropped. Campaigners were planning to walk 140 miles to the Home Office to continue their fight against the road. Information line: 01749 880114.


House Builder's Federation

TWENTY ENVIRONMENTALISTS occupied the offices of the House Builder's Federation in March. They were upset that the HBF appear to support the building of commuter homes on green belt land rather than the provision of social homes.

So, armed with their wits and a few musical instruments they launched a pre-emptive strike: "The roads programme was defeated by direct action," said activist, Jo Miller. "This is to show the house builders that we will do the same to them if they join together to tear the countryside apart."


Six Lane Byway

VISITORS TO OXFORD are often charmed by the lovely boats on the river, dreaming architecture and intellectual calm. The only problem is, they can never find a parking space, hear themselves think above the traffic or breath for the smog.

In a bid to solve the city's traffic problems Persimmion Homes and Oxford University have conspired to build a £1 million six-lane highway that will destroy trees and slice through one end of the grade two- star listed London Midland Scottish building in Park End Street.

Fortunately, the building has now been squatted by 12 Oxford residents. Occupant Edward Pope said: "If this road is built it would become Oxford's spaghetti junction. It isn't needed for either the Oxford Transport Strategy or the proposed business school. It would destroy everything that would add character to the new developments near the station. We're appalled the council hasn't even called a public meeting on the issue." Further info: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~envment/Ig/Imsroad.html (offline).

There are lots of other protests going on but there are so many Squall hasn't been able to cover them all... if we've forgotten you, we asquallagise!

Alvis - Coventry, outside company that sells Scorpion tanks to Indonesia. Tel: 01926 338805 or 0336 774113.

Birmingham Northern Relief Road. Excellent local support for 27 miles of private toll motorway. Tel: 07970 932224.

Nottingham. Tel: 01636 679979 or 0467 317649.

Bingley Bypass. (In desperate need of bods). Tel: 01274 504626.

Bangor. Protesting against a greenbelt housing development. Tel: 01248 351541 or 0836 563980.

Lyminge Forest. People are still there campaigning against Rank who want to build a Centre Parcs in the centre of a forest. Contact: 0468 945595

Reclaimed Streets

Cowley Road, OXFORD, November, 1997: Police presence described as "far too large and confrontational" by local green councillors. RTS agree toughest battle for a street they've won. Rinky Dink escorted out of the county. Greenpeace solar powered rig confiscated under CJA. But seven hundred and fifty protestors party on the Cowley Road. Local shopkeepers pleased as punch. Police later apologise for their behaviour to a group of green councillors.

Enmore Road, SYDNEY, Australia, November 1997: Orange fluro bamboo tripods blockade first Sydney RTS attended by between two and three thousand people. Sound system in huge metallic art installation tower rolled in like 'medieval seige equipment'.

Roma Street, BRISBANE, March 1998: Human music, percussion, clapping, stomping, shouting machine, created spontaneaous composition in reply to police's cutting of power supply.

LYON, November 1997: 'L'auto, ca pue, ca tue et ca pollue'; the car, it stinks, it kill and it pollutes. Hundreds of protestors dressed, in black, paraded through the streets pulling an old car behind them singing funeral dirges.

St Martin's Circus, BIRMINGHAM, May 16th 1998: Squall goes to press as RTS do it again to coincide with G8 summit. Four thousand protestors party as between 40 and 70 thousand from Jubilee 2,000 form a human ring around the conference centre calling for the cancellation of southern countries debt.


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For a menu of many other Squall articles about the Anti-Roads Movement, including protest camps, Reclaim The Streets and more click here