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In February the Planning Inspectorate approved an application from Mr Ewan Bumpstead to swap 418 square metres of common land in front of his property at Booker in Buckinghamshire with 2544 square metres in a nearby wood. We supported the application.
When Mr Bumpstead bought the property in 2010 he knew that the land in front of the house was common land but was unaware of its extent. The previous owners had maintained this land as a garden and Mr Bumpstead continued to do so. In 2012 he applied to deregister the common and exchange it for a plot at the rear. We objected to this: the exchange land was smaller and was part of the Booker Common woods which were already open to the public. The Planning Inspectorate refused the application on the grounds that it was ‘strongly against the public interest in maintaining the stock of common land’.
Before submitting a new application, Mr Bumpstead sensibly consulted the society. With the agreement of the landowner, Sir Edward Dashwood, he offered a much larger area in exchange. It is some distance from the existing land, but provides a useful addition to the common. It adjoins Booker Common and a public footpath.
This is a good solution. Mr Bumpstead is relieved of having his front garden registered as common and the public has a new area of common land to enjoy.