In view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and having considered the options for holding this year’s meeting, the trustees decided to hold our 2021 annual general meeting by videoconference on the 8 July at 1.00 PM.
Phil Wadey our, chairman, chaired the event which was attended by 33 members and eight members of staff.
All of the resolutions were passed along with the adoption of the trustees’ report and accounts for 2020. The results which had been counted in advance of the meeting were detailed.
Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, spoke about the work of the staff and local correspondents, highlighting the number of commons re-registration applications made before the 31 December 2020 deadline; the launch of the Grant a Green campaign and appeal in April 2021; the legal successes at Knowle Green and for Bristol Downs, the court of appeal ruling regarding common land de-registration at Blackbushe, and the status of the Rollright footpath case—the last two awaited the result of a request for permission to appeal to the supreme court. The society has been active in challenges to the progress of legislation including the Environment Bill, planning reforms and the Policing Bill. On policy we have made a stand on the agricultural reforms and the interim response from the government to the Glover review.
Four trustees were elected for the five vacancies following the ballot: Stuart Bain and Simon Hunt who had been previously co-opted, and Chris Beney and John Hall who were standing again having completed their three-year terms.
There was a defect in the voting forms which omitted the special resolution to amend the articles of association. The chairman apologised for this and outlined plans for a general meeting in the autumn to address the vote on this resolution correctly.
The AGM closed after about one hour and was followed by a talk by Dr Katrina Navickas, Reader in History at the University of Hertfordshire, and the 2020-21 Open Spaces Society Fellow, Museum of English Rural Life (MERL). She spoke about the society’s collection at MERL which contains nineteenth-century legal case papers and around a thousand lantern transparencies of English landscapes from around 1900-40.
Katrina will be holding a half-day event on the 8 September called: Whose landscapes? Open Spaces Society Symposium. Exploring themes and sources from the Open Spaces Society collection at the MERL. Tickets for this online event can be booked here.
We have produced draft minutes here with the detailed results.