A CAMPAIGN TO STOP MIDDLESBROUGH COUNCIL
DESTROYING A COMMUNITY WOODLAND TO BUILD 72 'EXECUTIVE-STYLE' HOUSES
GREEN HYPOCRISY EXPOSED ON TV (BBC Politics Show - March 2009) GREEN HYPOCRISY EXPOSED IN PARLIAMENT (Longridge to the Lords - July 2009)
Since 2005, The Friends of Longridge Wood have been campaigning to stop 'Robocop Mayor' Ray Mallon and M'bro Council from tearing down a 7-acre community woodland in Marton. The council wants to sell off the site to a developer and have 80 'executive-style' houses built on it.
The Friends oppose the plan because thesite is a rare natural space, important toboth wildlife and local people.Middlesbrough has only 1% tree cover already whichis 10 times below the national average! In recent years,1000s of new houses have been built in the area and 1000s more are planned not to mention the roads around Martonalready being notoriously congested. The Friends also believe it is unethical and hypocritical for a 'green beacon authority' having let a conservation charity plant the wood in the 90s to now tear it down.
Despite the council ignoring the campaigners pleas for 6 years and bulldozing half the site in a dawn raid in 2008(costing £25k), The Friends' commitment has never waivered. For a group of ordinary people to do their bit for the environment and actually fight back against a belligerent and destructive authority should be an inspiration for communties everywhere.
I got involved in 2006 to help get the story out through film and the net. The campaign may be about saving a small wood but its also a BIG fight for local democracy.
THE NEW PETITION
on M'bro Council's website.
Do your bit for the environment
AND local democracy please!
CAMPAIGN NEWS !
Sept 2011: COUNCIL CLAIM TO HAVE FOUND BUYER FOR SITE
After 6 years of massive objection, a trouncing on the BBC Politics Show and a shaming on screen in Parliament, Mayor Mallon and M'bro Council remain belligerently intent on tearing down Longridge Wood. They claim that they have found a buyer for the site and are looking forward to seeing 90 houses built upon it. Cllr. David Budd told the Gazette he was "delighted" and re-iterated the claim that "the site had long been earmarked for housing".
DISINGENUOUS AND/OR UNETHICAL ?
In trotting out this argument yet again, Budd actually re-affirms the fact that The Council has NO ETHICAL (let alone environmental) justification for their plan.
And that's because, 15 years ago, M'bro Council allowed a conservation charity to plant the Longridge site with 600 trees knowing that the site was earmarked for housing (they claim since 1979). So why didn't the council tell the conservation charity about their long established plan? It would have been unethical not to right?
Regardless of that, wouldn't it also be unethical to now tear down this charitable gift to the town? And also why wasn't the site built on in the eighties, nineties or early noughties? And the reason for that is that a major powerline crossed the site and a great pylon stood on it; and had done since the 1970s!
It was only after 2003 when the National Grid re-routed the line and removed the pylon that building housing was suddenly on the agenda - and by then, of course the trees had been planted for several years!!!
So it seems that The Council were either disingenuous in dealing with the conservation charity OR, in having no idea that the powerline would be re-routed, they actually had NO plans to build on the site at all !!!
Either way, Mallon, Budd and the Council's weak argument falls down yet again. The campaigners meanwhile remain equally intent on stopping the development and should they ultimately fail, the Council's final despotic and destructive act WILL BE POSTED AS PROMISED ON YOUTUBE FOREVER!
JAN 2011: The public outcry at the council for felling half the trees in Dec 2008 prompted the council to announce that it would not complete the felling until a buyer was found for the site. But now, in Jan 2011, campaigners believe the council, with their felling licence for the site set to expire this July and all felling not permitted from February due to the start of the nesting season, could be planning another raid this month. They still have NO developer and chopping down the wood will cost another £25k...and in a time of savage chops to council funding oh dear....
Sept 2010: THE BATTLE CONTINUES
all the way to NUMBER 10 ! Well done The Hobsons - Petition and Pancrack DVDs delivered !
Let's hope we see Mr. Cameron & Co. respond
to the Marton branch
THE BIG SOCIETY...
Aug 2010: NEW DVD ON ITS WAY
TO DOWNING STREET !
JUNE 25th/26th 2010: COUNCILS FAIL AGAIN TO
PANCRACK FILMSHOW Redcar & Cleveland Council and M'bro Council have again tried to thwart screenings of COATHAM-A COMMON CONCERN and LONGRIDGE-BULLDOZING DEMOCRACY.
Like last year when the films were screened in Parliament, they again complained to the venue and again to no avail.
Absolute respect to ARC for standing up for free expression by fully backing the show and inviting both councils to come and take part in the Q & A. The councils didn't show but have again vindicated the very point of both films: D-E-M-O-C-R-A-C-Y !
SCREENING EVENT: PANCRACK FILMS SHOWN IN PARLIAMENT DOUBLE BILL AT ARC . 'COATHAM - A COMMON CONCERN' 'LONGRIDGE- BULLDOZING DEMOCRACY' at ARC CINEMA, STOCKTON Friday 25th June 2010 7.30pm
includes speakers from
Coatham & Longridge Wood Campaigns also showing - Sat 26th June: 2pm & 7.30pm TICKETS: £5.50 / £4.50 conc.
A Cordial Invitation to REDCAR & CLEVELAND COUNCIL & MIDDLESBROUGH COUNCIL
to the screening of 'Coatham-A Common Concern' and 'Longridge Wood-Bulldozing Democracy'
plus discussion with campaigners at STOCKTON ARC, Friday June 25th 7.30pm
3 MAR 2010:
A SUPREME VICTORY
FOR COATHAM !
SUPREME COURT LANDMARK RULING
5-0 IN FAVOUR OF
THE FRIENDS OF COATHAM COMMON ! After 6 years of struggle against a hellbent council, the people and common sense have won at last - Coatham common is a protected village green!
Redcar & Cleveland Council have spent an outrageous £3-4m trying to impose their 'botched' housing development all over the sea front but now it is dead and the fences are coming down!
It's an inspiration for Longridge and green campaigns everywhere - don't give up!
For Coatham webpage and film 'Coatham-A Common Concern'
JULY 2009: A GREAT VICTORY AS COUNCIL BACKS OFF CENTRAL GDNS!
The ludicrous plan of M'bro Council to concrete over Central Gdns and the lake in the centre of M'bro with a multi-storey car park, hotel and office blocks is NOT going ahead.
The council told the Gazette they made their decision because of the present economic climate and the great number of public objections. The lake they said will remain but building on the surrounding green space may happen in the future. The controversial plans were brought to the attention of many by local residents. Their spirited campaign resulted in the film Beacon of Hypocrisy, the staging of a demonstration and a feature on The BBC Politics Show. This is a fantastic result for those who have worked hard to save the site. The council have acted wisely and should now be consistent given the greater number of objectors to the plans for Longridge!
JULY 20th 2009 :LONGRIDGE TO THE LORDS!
On Mon 20th July, 'BULLDOZING DEMOCRACY' was screened in THE HOUSE OF LORDS. Afterwards, the Longridge Campaigners discussed the green hypocrisy of Middlesbrough Council with Lord Michael Bates of Langbaurgh, Greg Clark MP & Shadow Minister For Teesside, Paul Bristow Conservative candidate for Ashok Kumar's seat plus Kay Brennan from The Woodland Trust.
Lord Bates added his support to the campaign commending "the power and wit of the film". He also humorously remarked "I'm glad I'm not on the recieving end of that !" ASHOK KUMAR Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (ironically the constituency of both the Longridge campaigners in Marton and myself in Saltburn!) chose not to attend BUT was in the building as he walked past our delegation in the Parliament lobby and looked a little surprised to see us!
Special thanks to Lord Bates and PA Alison for hosting the screening and thanks to all who attended. THE FIGHT FOR LONGRIDGE IS FAR FROM OVER !
JUNE 09: BULLDOZING DEMOCRACY IN WHITBY !
New Longridge film gets screening at Whitby Film Festival Night...
Nigel Ward organiser said "I screened 'Bulldozing' last night - last on the bill - and it brought the house down. Congrats and all that - seriously, good work. I'll show your stuff everytime" Thanks Nigel and best of luck with the big festival !
MARCH 2009: MALLON & MBC EXPOSED
THE BBC POLITICS SHOW !
From the Scottish borders to Cumbria, Northumberland
and all the way South past Whitby, the BBC Politics Show breaks the Longridge and Lake story and licences Pancrack footage to do so!
In the face of a no-nonsense BBC journalist, Mallon is knocked off balance, his arrogance and ignorance revealed to the region !
MARCH 2009: I agree with Ray... Ray told the BBC that environmentalism is all about "balance" - in fact he used the word a staggering
10 times !
Ironically, at just 1%, M'bro's tree cover is
10 times below
the national average ! So I agree with Ray -it is about "balance"
because M'bro hasn't got any !!!
WORLD EXCLUSIVE ! M'BRO CONCRETE EMITS OXYGEN ! “People have often said to me that the air in M’bro is actually cleaner than probably on the Cleveland hills for one reason and another” RAY MALLON tells BBC POLITICS SHOW 15.03.09 CLICK HEREFOR FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
On 10th & 11th MARCH 2009,
Middlesbrough Council held aconference called 'LOCAL ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE' so we held a DEMO called LOCAL ACTION ON COUNCIL HYPOCRISY !
THE BEACON OF HYPOCRISY EXPOSED !
100s of DVDs and leaflets given out to speakers and delegates !
BBC POLITICS SHOW, BBC TEES, NORTHERN ECHO, EVENING GAZETTE all show up
as Ray's spin doctor and bodyguards look glumly on...But where was Ray???
ROBO-COP VAN?!! We awaited Ray Mallon's arrival but he didn't show - BUT he was in the building at 9.30 to give his speech so how did he do it?! He told BBC Tees that he went in his usual way via the back gate BUT we checked that back gate just after 9am and it was padlocked. We were also told that the back gate had never been used since the front entrance was put in a year or two ago. We believe he came in the back of the police van that sped through around 9.15 and promptly left. Either way he knew we were there and avoided us! When everyone had all but left, he did send someone out to tell us that he was coming out to speak to protestors but it was too late. The protestors had left and I was off to film the fence coming down at Longridge and got there just in time...
With VIP speakers and 250 invited guests in town, MBC were busy saving face taking down the fence at Longridge and the day before the conference were also pictured in the Gazette planting trees in Coulby Newham!
Timing...the secret of comedy :-)
BBC filming post-liberation for THE POLITICS SHOW
THE COUNCIL'S COUNTRY CODE ?
'Take half the trees, leave only tyre tracks, broken fencing and any remaining trees on death row'
1,000 DVDS & FLYERS GIVEN AWAY !
Mega-thanks to a generous and anonymous sponsor, 1000 x dvds of 'Bulldozing Democracy-Beacon of Hypocrisy' and a 1000 x colour leaflets were pushed through letterboxes and sent out to the media just days ahead of Middlesbrough Council's 'Local Action on Climate Change' conference. THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE!