Protest wins wide range of support

JPCT 031211 Save Our Sussex Alliance gathering outside Tory party HQ, Gough House, Madeira Ave, Horsham. photo derek martin
JPCT 031211 Save Our Sussex Alliance gathering outside Tory party HQ, Gough House, Madeira Ave, Horsham. photo derek martin

A CAMPAIGN alliance against the rising threat of housebuilding in the Sussex countryside is gathering a wide range of supporters.

More than 70 people joined a demonstration organised by the Save Our Sussex Alliance outside Horsham’s Conservative Party headquarters on Saturday afternoon.

The organisation, which represents a growing number of grassroots organisations across the county, is politically non-aligned and is picking up backing from across the spectrum.

One speaker told fellow protesters there were similarities with the worldwide ‘Occupy’ movement, which was pitting people power against the rule of money and profit.

A letter of support from Green MEP Keith Taylor was read out to those gathered at Gough House in Madeira Avenue.

Mr Taylor, a South East MEP, said: “I’d like to express my support for your protest today against the government’s proposed planning reforms.

“Only this week George Osborne said the government would ensure that ‘compliance with the EU Habitats and Wild Birds Directive does not lead to unnecessary costs and delays to development’.

“This protection in EU law of our important wild habitats and species is something which cannot and must not be simply brushed aside in favour of development and business interests.

 “Sussex is a beautiful county with a rich diversity of wildlife and habitats and some beautiful countryside.

“A planning system which reads like a developers’ charter will not protect this.

“I have responded to the government’s consultation on this issue and have let them know that if they insist on pushing ahead with these unpopular changes I will be seeking to challenge their new planning rules at an EU level.

“I’m sorry that I can’t be there today to support the work of Save Our Sussex Alliance but I’d like you to know that you have the full support of your local Green MEP.”

SOSA representatives posted a copy of their manifesto (see below) through the front door of the Conservative Party offices.

A spokesperson for the campaign group said the demonstration had gone very well and they couldn’t have fitted many more people in the space outside the offices.

Members are now busy organising a demonstration outside the Conservative office in Brighton for the third or fourth week in January.

More info at www.saveoursussex.com.