Latest News

Waterstock industrial development rejected 

November 24, 2023

We are delighted that South Oxfordshire District Council has refused an application from Greystoke CB Ltd to build a science park at Waterstock golf course, about seven kilometres west of Thame.  Our general secretary joined two walks in protest at the development and, when the application was published, we objected, in support of local members.   …

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Seven-year fight saves Blackbushe aerodrome as common land 

November 20, 2023

After a seven-year saga, Blackbushe aerodrome is to stay as part of Yateley Common. That is the final pronouncement of an inspector who has determined the application of Blackbushe Airport Ltd (BAL), made in November 2016, to remove nearly half a square kilometre of airfield from the Hampshire register of common land.  We celebrate the…

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We celebrate addition of restricted byway to Norfolk’s path-map 

November 10, 2023

We are delighted that our Norfolk local correspondent, Ian Witham, has succeeded in his application to upgrade a public footpath at Mundesley to a restricted byway, with rights for cyclists, horse-riders and carriage-drivers, in addition to walkers.  The 60-metre path runs roughly south-west to north-east, between the C634 Cromer Road to the clifftop.  The route…

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User groups save Gloucestershire highway 

November 6, 2023

A precious public ‘green road’ has been protected by user groups combining efforts to resist Gloucestershire County Council’s application to a magistrates’ court to extinguish public rights[1] over Hanover Green Road[2]  in the parish of Redmarley D’Abitot. Cheltenham magistrates found the track to be necessary for the public to use, particularly on foot and by…

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We rescue part of ancient Knighton Heath, Dorset 

November 6, 2023

We have welcomed a decision to see off a threat to Knighton Heath in Dorset.  In 1957, parts of Winfrith and Knighton Heaths were compulsorily acquired by the government for use as an atomic energy establishment. A small part (one third of a hectare) of Knighton Heath, south of Gibraltar Cottage and not required for…

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Coffey kowtows to landowners and destroys public-path consensus

October 25, 2023

We are dismayed that the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, has destroyed the 2010 consensus for the future of public paths. This consensus was forged by a stakeholder working group (SWG) set up to advise government. It is composed of experienced members reflecting the interests of users, local authorities, and landowners. Dr Coffey has cherry-picked from…

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We slate commercial exploitation of London’s commons  

October 12, 2023

Commons and open spaces in London and across the country are under increased threat from commercial exploitation following a public inquiry decision [1] allowing a massive music festival event.  The Open Spaces Society deplores the decision by an inspector, appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to permit the…

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Saving Blackwell parkland

October 9, 2023

A campaign is on to register Darlington’s 18-hectare historic parkland as a town green. Our members Michael and Angela Green of the Parkland Heritage Network tell the story. The historic Blackwell parkland, on the south side of Darlington, is the last of the town’s Georgian pleasure parks, dating back to the 1700s. It first appeared…

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Toughening up

October 9, 2023

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, writes of the need to get tough in these times of austerity. In September I spoke to the Gower Society, as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations. The society played an important role in securing Gower as the first area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) in 1956. And on its…

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Amenity groups deplore destruction of New Road Common, Kendal 

October 4, 2023

The Open Spaces Society and Friends of the Lake District have deplored the decision of a planning inspector to allow flood-defence works on New Road Common in the heart of Kendal in Cumbria (now Westmorland and Furness).  The application, made by the Environment Agency, followed hard on the heels of a damaging application for neighbouring…

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