2005-2011:
SIX YEARS OF GREEN RESISTANCE !
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)


Background

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 the
site is a rare natural space, important to both wildlife and local people. Middlesbrough has only 1% tree cover already which
is 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 Marton already 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.

Please sign
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!

WATCH MY FILM (WHICH MALLON FAILED TO STOP BEING SHOWN IN PARLIAMENT!) BULLDOZING DEMOCRACY ON YOUTUBE

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 of THE BIG SOCIETY...


Aug 2010:

NEW DVD ON ITS WAY
TO DOWNING STREET !


JUNE 25th/26th 2010:
COUNCILS FAIL AGAIN TO
STOP 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
TICKETS: £5.50

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' click here


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
ON
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 HERE FOR FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
On 10th & 11th MARCH 2009,
Middlesbrough Council held a
conference 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 !

N.ECHO Video .N.ECHO Article 1..N.ECHO Article 2...E.GAZETTE Article

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...
LONGRIDGE LIBERATED
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'
MAR 2009:
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!
FEB 2009:
TWO NEW FILMS FOR MIDDLESBROUGH:
"We would love to hear from you and hope you share in our enthusiasm"
Middlesbrough Council
- 'Green Spaces Action Strategy' 2006

OK...WE ENTHUSIASTICALLY OPPOSE YOU AND EXPOSE YOU!

1. 'BULLDOZING DEMOCRACY'

2. 'BEACON OF HYPOCRISY'

FEB 2009:
NOW COUNCIL PLANS TO STEAL PUBLIC GREEN SPACE !
If a council creates an open space with public money for the public to walk freely upon until it decides they can't because it wants to sell it off to private developers...WHERE IS THE FREEDOM???
The only green space at the heart of M'bro is under threat from another barmy scheme from
Mallon & MBC. The Lake and Central Gdns to be replaced by office blocks, multi-storey car park and a hotel - YET M'BRO IS FULL OF EMPTY OFFICE BLOCKS & THE HOTELS AREN'T FULL !!!
The residents who live around Central Gardens have started a campaign and the film is coming soon!

SAVE CENTRAL GARDENS
- CONTACT:
Sheila 01642 - 222 876 / Lynda 01642 - 355 654
26th FEB 2009: FAKE BUDD ON THE TREES
"We have listened to the views of local people and have decided that any further work on the site will be postponed until the autumn. In the meantime the fencing will be removed and restoration work will be undertaken to allow people to enjoy the area for the time being" Cllr. Dave Budd, Middlesbrough Council.

Nice one Dave...so its got nowt to do with the fact that the council have capped all spending until the end of this financial year and then in April it is bird nesting season and illegal to carry out any felling until the Autumn??!!!

THE CAMPAIGN GOES ON - THE CREDIBILITY BATTLE IS WON!
JAN 2009: LONGRIDGE FOOTPATH FARCE
The Council's dawn raid against the residents of Marton West on Dec 15th saw a steel fence seal off the footpath used by the public including PARENTS WALKING THEIR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL! I was arrested on that path protesting the fact that the council had given no public warning to say they were going to close it. The fence has since been re-routed allowing some access to the path but deliberately blocking other sections of it. It's a little bit of iron fist and the result is quagmire...the actions of a green beacon authority you decide???
15th December 2008:
HAPPY XMAS LONGRIDGE
FROM

RAY MALLON & MIDDLESBROUGH COUNCIL

A SHOCKING DISGRACE !
Despite the developer having pulled out due to the recession, Mallon and the Council sent in the bulldozers without warning to residents! Arriving at first light, they sealed off the site and bulldozed a third of the wood (Felling regulations prevented felling the whole site in one go). This stunt or 'psy-op' was designed to demoralise the campaigners but it FAILED. It cost Mallon & MBC their green credibility and they cost the taxpayer £25k in the process!
THE FIGHT GOES ON...
THE DEVELOPER HAS PULLED OUT
BUT COUNCIL BULLDOZERS GO IN !
OUTRAGED RESIDENTS GIVEN NO WARNING !
THE TRUE FACE OF 'BEACON STATUS' 'ENVIRONMENT CITY' MIDDLESBROUGH...
"I'm an Environmentalist" says The Mayor
NO MR. MALLON, YOU ARE A CON MAN !

IRONY! COUNCIL HEAVIES WITH 'AREA CARE' ON THEIR JACKETS !
& CLEVELAND POLICE'S 'ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR UNIT'
ARREST ME FOR STANDING ON THE FOOTPATH !

MARCH 2008:
BBC TEES interviews campaigners
Chris Hobson & Craig Hornby
plus Coun. Budd of MBC

LET THE MAYOR OF HOT AIR KNOW WHAT YOU THINK !
ray_mallon@middlesbrough.gov.uk
MARCH 2008 :
Middlesbrough Council Bilge poured through letterboxes across the town this week -
read this and weep...




TREES & TOWN PLANNING
"TREES can bring great benefits to us all. The majesty of an oak tree or the elegance of a silver birch enrich our daily lives and their beauty can relieve the dullest of days. And it’s well known that trees are in the frontline of tackling global warming. Trees have the dual benefit of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and they provide shade within built-up areas. Tree cover in an urban area such as Middlesbrough can have a substantial cooling effect and will make the town a much more pleasant place to live in our (almost certainly hotter) future.

BUT 500 SILVER BIRCH
IN MARTON DON'T COUNT ???

CALL ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND DEMAND A
SICK BAG
NOW !!!
AND THE
QUOTE OF THE YEAR FOR 2007 IS..
.

"The only reason that
this land hasn't been developed before is that

there were pylons
growing out of it"


.


Congratulations!

CLLR. DAVE BUDD
Middlesbrough Council
on North East News
3.12.07

MARCH 2008: VILLAGE GREEN APPLIC. REJECTED

The Public Inquiry rules against Longridge becoming a protected village green. It was decreed that the site could not have been used freely by the public constantly for the last 15 years as crops were grown on it for a couple of years in the 90s.

The campaigners vow to fight on !

DEC 2007: REPORT FROM THE PUBLIC INQUIRY, TOWN HALL

TOTAL RESPECT TO THE FAB FOUR: CHRIS, JEANETTE, JOHN & JIM for taking on the legal might of Middlesbrough Council's hired guns - George Laurence,QC and assistant PLUS the Middlesbrough Council solicitor Bryn Roberts and assistant PLUS a grey assortment of council officers whispering in their ears.

Chris and the witnesses put forward the case for the site's importance over the years and its growing importance as the trees and population grow. Laurence laid into them with the argument that they live in a bunch of estates built at different times with changing boundaries and is therefore not strictly a 'neighbourhood' making them ineligible for a village green..(the undermining of their community in order to take away something that builds community - how utterly repugnant !!!) He argued that the public didn't use the land for the last 20 years in its entirety because there were crops in the field in the late-80s to early-90s and people could have only used the 2 public footpaths on the site...(perhaps they should have ran amok and trampled the crops?!!) The video formed part of the evidence and Laurence apparently scoffed "not another video to watch" and didn't bother. The inspector, Vivian Chapman QC, did watch it and his decision, expected in February / March, is the one that counts. Let's pray for a miracle said the atheist...

It dawned on me also, how grossly unfair the public inquiry set up is...MBC can hire top legal experts with PUBLIC MONEY TO FIGHT THE PUBLIC IN ORDER TO TAKE AWAY A PUBLIC AMENITY AND THE PUBLIC ARE NOT ALLOWED A PENNY OF PUBLIC MONEY TO HIRE ANYONE TO REPRESENT THEM, unless they are on benefit. And that ladies and gents is just one instance of how the public are kept in their place, in our fair and just society...

I also emailed Mallon and Budd last week and promised if they win, we will be there filming
FROM THE FIRST CHAINSAW TO THE LAST BULLDOZER SO THEIR STINKING HYPOCRISY IS DOCUMENTED ON THE WEB, FOR ALL TIME.
They haven't wrote back yet...

BOTH SIDES OF DAVE ON
BOTH SIDES OF THE PAGE !

in the Evening Gazette 27.11.07...

'OUR VILLAGE GREEN'
THE 2ND FILM - DEC 2007

(10 mins)


SEPT 2007: LONGRIDGE IN VILLAGE GREEN BID

The campaign to save Longridge Wood in Marton from the bulldozers continues with the group fighting to get Village Green Status as it has been used by the public for over 20 years and is therefore eligible. Please spread the word and get people behind the campaign. They will all moan if it goes, the kids will lose out, nature will be trashed and the roads will be an even bigger nightmare.

CLICK PIC for LONGRIDGE Microsite
DEC 2006: 'SAVE LONGRIDGE WOOD'

For two years, a group in Marton have been fighting Middlesbrough Council's plans to tear down a young woodland and build yet more houses. After all Mr. Mallon and the council have said about the environment, reducing traffic on Marton Road and combating anti-social behaviour, it struck me as hypocrisy beyond belief. I got involved to help get the word out and show how easy it is now to get broadcasting worldwide via the new Youtube.

THE 1ST FILM - Dec 2006
(7 mins)

Shot, edited and
broadcasting worldwide
in one day!

KEEP THE PRESSURE
ON MALLON AND MBC!


PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN !


IF THEY WIN...

THE PEOPLE LOSE,
NATURE IS TRASHED
AND THE ROADS WILL BE
AN EVEN BIGGER
NIGHTMARE !

THE FACTS:

LONGRIDGE WOOD is a maturing woodland of 500 trees on Stainton Way, Marton West. It was planted 20 years ago by a woodland charity and links to green belt stretching all the way to Albert Park. It is home to wildlife including deer and bats and is a great amenity for the local community.

RAY MALLON & MIDDLESBROUGH COUNCIL want it destroyed because they claim they need the money (£8.5m) to build another 80 (mainly executive) houses to help reverse the tide of wealthy people choosing to live outside of Middlesbrough.

The Campaign has been fought for over two years by a group of local residents. They are opposed to the plans because they claim the site is invaluable as a green space to flora, fauna and the community. Plus the proposed housing will put yet more traffic on nearby Marton Road.


MIDDLESBROUGH COUNCIL

IN THEIR OWN WORDS...


"Middlesbrough's tree cover, at 1%, is TEN times lower than the national average. The council therefore seeks to conserve, improve and expand the tree population"

"We as the council need to improve the quality of our green space; improve in areas, the provision of our green space; protect our green space; involve people in our green spaces"

'GREEN SPACES, PUBLIC SPACES'
Action Plan 2006

"Middlesbrough emits 800,000 tons of CO2 every year, over half of which comes from houses and road transport. Responding to climate change is the most important environment challenge of the 21st century"

MAYOR RAY MALLON

'Taking the Lead' 2002



AND NOW THE BOTTOM LINE...


"Site 44-Longridge has been identified for housing in the Coulby Newham Master Plan since 1976. The site will provide good quality family housing and be an attractive alternative to sites elsewhere in the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire. This will help to retain economically active households and help to stem population decline"

Kevin Parkes, Senior Planning Officer,
Middlesbrough Council, Dec 2006

JAN 07- COMMENT
BY CRAIG HORNBY
Ray Mallon and Middlesbrough Council have passionately espoused the importance of enhancing open space, the diversity of nature, leisure opportunities, improving health and well-being; community participation; combating anti-social behaviour; reducing emissions and road traffic on Marton Road...the list is endless as it is righteous.

So given this, what they are proposing is incredulous and ultimately begs the question: just how much does the council actually believe in what it spouts and when does the big green talk become action?

They are claiming they need the money to build houses to stem the tide of wealthy people leaving Middlesbrough. Isn't it obvious that people are leaving because they want a bit of space and to avoid roads already beyond log-jam?
Paul Rabbitts who drafted the 'Green Spaces, Public Places' document in 2006 admitted in a public meeting that
Longridge Wood (aka Site 44) would be rated a high value community green space were it not for the fact that the site had been earmarked as part of the Coulby Newham plan 25 years ago. The environment has become a bit of a massive priority since the early 80s so why is the council which Mallon claims is 'moving forward' stuck in the dark ages?

The fight isn't over yet and only people power can stop it, please let your elected mayor know what you think.


ray_mallon@middlesbrough.gov.uk

CRAIG HORNBY.

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