Latest News

Paths to oblivion

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago (3 September 1987) we were present at the launch of the Countryside Commission’s far-reaching policies and priorities for enjoying the countryside, writes our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook. Top priority was to have the entire rights-of-way network ‘legally defined, maintained and available for use before the end of the [last] century’ with up-to-date…

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Date on which orders under section 119 of the Highways Act 1980 come into effect

October 1, 2017

Herefordshire Council made a diversion order for Lyonshall footpath LZ3 (part) which was contested and went to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). After written representations the order was confirmed. The Open Spaces Society subsequently wrote to PINS to point out that the inspector had confirmed a defective order. We considered the order to be defective in…

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Commons conference in Utrecht

August 15, 2017

In July our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, went to the biennial conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) in Utrecht in the Netherlands.  Here she describes some of her experiences. This was the 16th biennial, global conference of the IASC, and my fifth.  It was organised by the University of…

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Shape of the nation

June 27, 2017

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, considers the effect of the increasing divergence between English and Welsh laws and practices. The 870-mile Wales Coast Path was the ambitious legacy of Rhodri Morgan, the former first minister of Wales who died in May. Now we can walk ‘the shape of the nation’; the path has brought pleasure…

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A commons’ conference companion

May 30, 2017

The Countryside and Community Research Institute of Gloucester University (CCRI) has published a Commons e-book which is a compilation of blogs written at or about the biennial global conferences of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC).    You can download it here. The book is written by John Powell and Chris Short…

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People’s places  

March 20, 2017

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, reflects on the recent report on parks and green spaces. Our parks and green spaces are at tipping point warns the House of Commons Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee in its report Public Parks. Having received 400 written submissions, including ours, and heard 27 witnesses, the MPs concluded obviously…

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Fifty years since the start of commons registration

January 2, 2017

Fifty years ago today, on 2 January 1967, the commons and greens registers in England and Wales were opened, writes Kate Ashbrook.  This was the start of a period of feverish activity for the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society, as we were then known.  The registers were created following the Commons Registration Act…

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Our case officer’s diary

October 31, 2016

Our case officer Nicola Hodgson gives a snapshot of her work for the society, both in and out of the office. As case officer for commons, greens and open spaces over the last 17 years I have experienced a huge volume and variety of issues and shared some of the frustrations, challenges and successes of…

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Access means Access

October 24, 2016

Whatever we may feel about leaving the EU it does provide a chance to rethink our agricultural-support systems, and to devise a scheme which favours public access, writes our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook. Lord Gardiner, in his reply to our letter to the Prime Minister, said: ‘We will be looking to develop a new approach…

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A fair way to challenge planning decisions that damage our environment and living conditions

September 1, 2016

As part of the Wildlife & Countryside Link (Link) Legal Group, we are supporting Louise Venn in her court case which seeks to close a legal loophole that is preventing Aarhus cost caps being applied to statutory review challenges in England and Wales. This loophole leaves most national planning decisions immune from affordable challenge and,…

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