From the West Sussex County Times of Friday, September 10, 1982.

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Horsham anti-nuclear protesters kept a weekend vigil outside the Royal Observer Corps fallout warning centre in Denne Road, which was open to the public on Saturday and Sunday.

About 40 members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament took it in turns to march up and down the road with placards and to give leaflets to people visiting the centre.

The leaflets, entitled ‘ROC Defence or Threat’, claimed the warning centre would be a likely target in the event of a nuclear war. The centre, which is part of the Home Office run UK Monitoring and Warning Organisation, houses the sector control covering the whole of the South East.

Its role is to assess the extent of a nuclear attack and predict the path and intensity of fallout. It would then pass on warnings to rescue services in areas likely to be affected.

“We think it is a possible target because it is a warning system,” said Horsham CND branch secretary Mary Thompson. “This building is a standby for communications in Chichester.”

The idea that the centre would be bombed was described as ‘absolute nonsense’ by chief observer Stan Allwood. “This is no threat to anybody. It’s like saying the fire brigade would be a target. I don’t imagine anybody would consider this a target; any foe would be likely to attack our response capability. If you want to terrorise a population, you would drop bombs on a large city, not a town like Horsham.”

The nationwide epidemic of whooping cough has reached West Sussex and doctors fear it could get worse unless more children are immunised.

So far 84 cases of the killer disease have been reported in the Mid Downs health district, an increase of almost 400 per cent on last year’s figures.

There have been no fatalities but doctors say the risk of death or brain damage from the disease is far greater than that of having a serious reaction to the vaccine.

“There is no question we are experiencing a nationwide epidemic of whooping cough and this is reflected in the increased number of notifications we are receiving in our own district,” said Mid Downs medical officer for environment health, Dr William Dunnett.

“This year we have had 84 throughout the district, compared with 24 for the whole of last year, and that is quite a substantial increase.

“The disease can be quite serious and in young infants it can be fatal. It is a serious condition and one should make every effort to prevent it.”

Dr Dunnett said the reason for the sudden increase in cases was that not enough children were being immunised.

A campaign masterminded by residents has successfully won its battle against a housing development.

In February 3,500 posters were delivered to homes protesting against ‘the final rape of Storrington’.

It was announced on Thursday, that the Williams Group had failed to win government approval for its scheme to build 100 homes and a swimming pool complex.

The decision was greeted by villagers with jubilation.

The Williams Group, which has been responsible for much of the building in Storrington, appealed to the Department of the Environment after permission for its scheme was refused by Horsham District Council.

The council rejected the plans on the grounds that they conflicted with the County Structure Plan aimed at ensuring a minimum of agricultural land was taken for development.