Posts by Sarah Hacking

2026 Guillotine for historic ways is abolished

Newly recorded track in Norfolk

We are delighted that the government is to scrap the 2026 deadline for recording historic paths in England.  This deadline has, for more than 20 years, threatened our unique path-network. The deadline meant that on 1 January 2026, public rights over thousands of paths, which are public highways but not yet recorded as such, or…

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Vital piece missing from ‘levelling-up’ jigsaw

Queen's Crescent LGS, Exeter

We have criticised today’s announcement on levelling up as a missed chance to rectify the gross inequality of access to local spaces. The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, has unveiled his ‘levelling-up plan’ without a mention of the importance of local green spaces.  Yet these, which have always been…

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Our stand against the grandstand

We save common land at Richmond Low Moor, North Yorkshire We have welcomed a court order setting aside the removal of common land from Richmond Low Moor following the society’s legal action. On 21 June 2021, North Yorkshire County Council granted an application by the Richmond Burgage Pastures Committee to deregister common land at the…

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Our justice system undermined

Over the last 157 years, the Open Spaces Society has taken pride in successfully using the courts to rectify wrongs affecting commons, greens, other open spaces, and public paths. We also back our members in their legal actions. Now, the Westminster government’s Judicial Review and Courts Bill is set to have a profoundly detrimental effect…

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Give us back our green

We have called for the return to public use of Market Green[1] in Water Orton, Warwickshire which, we say, unlawfully has been closed off to recreational use. The owner of the land, Star Pubs and Bars Ltd,[2] has applied to the Secretary of State to remove the status of the land as town or village…

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Budget does nothing for public access

Chiswick Park

We are deeply disappointed by the government’s budget, announced on 27 October.  We had hopes that it would fund more and better public access, in town and country, in recognition of the effect of the pandemic which has made everyone appreciate the value of outdoor recreation for health and well-being.  The government, in its flagship…

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Hampstead Heath’s milestone Act of Parliament

Hampstead Heath in summer

Today, 29 June, is the 150th anniversary of the Hampstead Heath Act 1871, which empowered the Metropolitan Board of Works (MBW) to purchase the Heath for the people.  Now the Heath belongs to the City of London Corporation and is managed for the benefit of the public. We are proud to have played a major…

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Government’s missed opportunity to protect local open spaces

We are dismayed that the government proposes, in wholesale changes to the planning system, to undermine the protection afforded to green spaces. The society has raised these concerns in its response to the consultation from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government on amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  The NPPF, among…

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Open Spaces Society delighted that Brent River Park, Ealing, is saved

Brent River Park summer 2020

We are delighted that Ealing Council’s planning committee on 17 March resolved to save Brent River Park.  It rejected Be:Here Ealing Ltd’s application to erect a massive leisure centre, six high-rise housing blocks and other development on the Gurnell Leisure Centre site next to the park. Although the council’s planning officer recommended conditional approval, the…

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