Many community groups helped the successful gathering at Chatsmore Farm. We stood shoulder to shoulder to spell out the big NO! to Persimmons’ ambition to build houses, driveways and roads over most of the farmland between Ferring and Goring by Sea, the valued green gap between Arun and Worthing.
Protestors were joined by residents of Castle ward to demonstrate the unanimous verdict, supporting longstanding decisions by West Sussex County Council and Worthing Borough Council, backed by Arun District Council, to save the water voles and the kingfishers along the rife from the bulldozers.
The natural world is responding to lengthening daylight. Plants, animals and birds sense how to react. Let us respect the nature around us. We inhabit one world. Paving over verges and concreting fields will worsen flooding and reduce air quality. Wildlife suffers.
Three hundred people, older and younger than me, came to form the one-word injunction on the grass. The drone operator Doug Larkam of St Romero’s Catholic School used the handheld monitor to position. We were united, Arun residents alongside the Worthies, Conservatives with Liberal Democrats and Labour’s supporters.
We have cooperated successfully before, and while I can make it happen, we will continue the endeavour to pass on to future generations the green gaps, our equivalent of the Green Belt.
In the role of Father of the House of Commons, I can be called to speak while ministers and media are still awake. That made it possible, after the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, to draw forward successive Secretaries of State for Housing to take action to relieve many innocent residential leaseholders of the massive costs of replacing flammable cladding and of remedying other fire defects.
It also led to Michael Gove helpfully declaring the importance of our Gaps between the South Downs and the sea. It may have been one extra reason for an Inspector to refuse an unwanted building application north of the A259.
For now, I will not get into a public row with the Chris Dixon who seems to think an alcohol licence would be a welcome addition in the southern gap; nor is it necessary to make political capital about what he asserts to be his political preference. I simply declare my opposition to building what in effect would be a new town over every vineyard, field and meadow between Hove and Portsmouth. He suggests those agreeing with me should let me know.
I enjoyed the Ferring community evening with village hall trustees. Councillors Roger Elkins and Mark Turner introduced village residents. Stephen Abbott spoke of the expert History Group and the exemplary Conservation Group activities.
People and issues matter in Angmering and Findon, in Poling, Patching and Clapham. Resisting unwelcome development is a task shared across present constituency boundaries.
Last week, many East Preston residents lost their telephone lines. To protect the vulnerable and to help everyone, I found the words and the way for BT to reconnect correctly everyone four days earlier than planned. Experience and polite persistence can achieve results, not just headlines.
I have supported the All-Party Group for Muslim Women, dedicated to helping women and girls in Muslim communities and societies achieve social, economic and political rights, meeting human needs. Abroad, conflict and war are experienced differently by women and men, girls and boys, the elderly and the young.
The APPG raises awareness of the difficulties faced by women, including in Gaza and Palestine where women and children are reported to be 70 per cent of the recent deaths in Gaza since the murderous attack on Israelis in October.
The APPG for Race and Community have also re-elected me as an officer. We work for the day in our community when skin colour is no more important than the tone of our hair or shine in our eyes.