Latest News

Countryside Code’s seventieth anniversary

April 1, 2021

The Open Spaces Society’s involvement with the Countryside Code precedes its first publication, as the Country Code, in 1951. In fact, with the Ramblers, we instigated it. The society has always wanted to see greater access to the countryside and everyone to feel welcome there. In 1945 we noted that one of the difficulties we…

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Government’s missed opportunity to protect local open spaces

March 25, 2021

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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Brent River Park summer 2020

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

March 25, 2021

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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Blackbushe airfield stays common land

March 18, 2021

The court of appeal has dismissed a move by Blackbushe Airport Ltd (BAL) to remove the airfield from the register of common land.[1]  The court refused to overturn the decision of the High Court that the land must remain registered as part of Yateley Common.  That decision was defended by Hampshire County Council and the…

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Looking north-west over the new green towards the RCV estate

More take than give

March 18, 2021

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, considers the new threat to open spaces from the government’s proposed demolition of the planning system. Step by step our cherished planning system is being destroyed. Last year we slated the government’s white paper, Planning for the Future. Now government intends to extend permitted development rights. This would mean that…

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We criticise sinister Police Bill

March 15, 2021

Along with 250 other organisations, we have signed an open letter to the Home Secretary and Justice Secretary calling on government to rethink the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which has its second reading on 15 and 16 March, having been introduced to parliament only days before. The bill creates numerous new criminal offences,…

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New public freedoms at Dorchester on Thames, Oxon

March 15, 2021

We are celebrating new greens and paths at Dorchester on Thames in Oxfordshire, after a long campaign which we fought alongside local residents. A new landowner, Mr Keith Ives, has removed fences erected by his predecessor.  These denied public access to the historic Dyke Hills, a scheduled Iron Age settlement, and Day’s Lock Meadow beside…

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View across Chesham Bois Common, Buckinghamshire

Chesham Bois Common saved from degradation

March 9, 2021

We are delighted that a damaging plan to create a tarmac, vehicular accessway on Chesham Bois Common in the Buckinghamshire Chilterns has been withdrawn in the face of objections. Last year St Leonard’s Church Parochial Church Council applied for planning permission for an accessway to the parish centre as part of a larger development comprising…

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Long Mynd, Shropshire Hills

Celebrating upland commons

February 16, 2021

Thanks to National Lottery players some of our best loved places in the uplands of England will be better looked after.  A partnership of 24 organisations, including the society, will empower those who graze common land, the commoners, to manage them better to restore peat, create habitats for birds and butterflies, and improve the quality…

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The Villagers, about two years ago, with the entrance to the car park. Photo: Peter Trimming, Creative Commons Licence.

We help to save Surrey common from enclosure

February 15, 2021

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has refused consent to the Hon Peter Herbert for fencing and a gate across part of Blackheath Common in Surrey.  Blackheath is four miles south-east of Guildford in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Peter Herbert, lord of the manor, wanted to erect…

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