Wednesday, December 27, 2006



West Sussex Gazette (WSG) is the local 'snooze paper' for those who own West Sussex - and probably published (by Johnston Press - JP) just for their benefit.

But, very occasionally, WSG surprises me - as it has done this week ("Just who owns West Sussex? We reveal some fascinating answers", December 27 2006 - Page 4).
This is a full-page feature, written by a former WSCC Leader/"Gazette Kiss 'n Tell Contributor"/'Gamekeeper turned Poacher' - Graham Forshaw.

I can just imagine many a West Sussex Lord/Duke/Earl/Viscount/Colonel/Major spluttering on their sherry when they settle down in their armchairs to read this - it might upset their after-dinner doze. But methinks I sound a little bitter - and there might be some truth in that - as I think people like them have helped to 'unofficially' ban people like me from JP's West Sussex Gazette and Crawley Observer Letters Pages - until further notice.

No matter...more importantly, back to Graham Forshaw's revelations :

"The major landowners in West Sussex are still the aristocratic families and the trusts they have established..."

Duke of Norfolk Family (Arundel Estate et al) - 16000 acres (v.v. approx)
Viscount Cowdray (Cowdray Estate et al) - 17000 acres (v.v. approx)
Duke of Richmond (Goodwood Estate et al) - 12000 acres (v.v.approx)
Lord Egremont (Petworth Estate et al) - 22000 acres (v.v. approx)

"If we add together the acres...throw in a few thousand acres owned by well known local families - the Goring and Langmead families, for example -we arrive at a figure that is roughly half the land area of West Sussex."

The Lord Lieutenant's Office is part of West Sussex County Council - a kind of 'County House of Lords with a direct line to the Queen'. It is housed at County Hall Chichester - paid for by (you've guessed it), us the West Sussex taxpayer. There are 47 West Sussex Deputy Lieutenants appointed (not elected) by the Lord Lieutenant - paid for by (you've guessed it), us the West Sussex taxpayer.

You can probably guess who have been appointed Deputy Lieutenants for West Sussex. Yes, you're right - every Lord, Duke and Viscount mentioned above...and quite a few more (eg Lord Luce), including 'retired' Colonels and Majors.

Who owns West Sussex owns West Sussex County Council...

Graham Forshaw again : "Vested interests, the people who own land in West Sussex, have every reason to restrict the supply of land for housing. As land becomes even more expensive, so their future profits increase".

Graham Forshaw finally : "The 1872 Return of Owners of Land was prompted, in part, by fear that Radical politicians would incite the masses to rebel against authority. Will a more open disclosure of land ownership in West Sussex, and elsewhere, be enough to lance the swelling boil of social discontent in the 21st century".

Vive La Revolution !!!

Your post astonishes me, Richard. Is it possible that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Norhern Ireland still lives in the Middle Ages?

The cradle of democracy a nest of feudal lords.

I wonder what you want the London government and parliament for.
But who did he kiss???
Je ne comprend pas, Monsieur Skudder
You described him as:

a former WSCC Leader/"Gazette Kiss 'n Tell Contributor"/'Gamekeeper turned Poacher'
Graham Forshaw "kissed" one of the highest of the high in West Sussex - the one who gave him the boot as Leader of WSCC.

Mr Forshaw does not name that person - we can only guess - but he wrote about his 'dismissal' in the WSG some year ago. He was obviously none too happy about it...

Apparently, Mr Forshaw was called into a private meeting by this un-named 'puppeteer', and he knew his number was up when this 'puller of strings' started talking about a runt in a litter...

That's who Mr Forshaw "kissed"...
Is he the one who was moved aside to allow Henry in?
Not quite - there was Cllr Harold Hall as Leader, before Henry Smith.

Do you remember that 'dodgy dossier' concerning our Henry...I'm pretty sure that originated from 'the highest of the high' in West Sussex (ie the 'un-named' one who gave Forshaw the boot).

The fish stinks from the head down...
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