Latest News

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damaging plan to create a tarmac, vehicular accessway on Chesham Bois Common in the Buckinghamshire Chilterns has been withdrawn in the face of objections.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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Port Meadow, Oxfordshire

Hook Norton learns about common land

February 11, 2021

‘Common land is frequently misunderstood.’  So declared our commons re-registration officer, Frances Kerner, who gave an illustrated online talk ‘What is Common Land?’ to the Hook Norton Local History Group in north Oxfordshire on 2 February. ‘The word “common” does not mean that the land is commonly owned.  Like all land in England and Wales…

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Open Spaces Society’s new watchdog in Teignbridge, Devon

February 11, 2021

We have appointed Nicholas Whitsun-Jones as its local correspondent for the Teignbridge district in Devon. Nicholas will be the society’s guardian in the area of Teignbridge District Council (including part of the Dartmoor National Park), keeping a close watch on paths, commons, greens and open spaces. Nicholas was in the legal profession for 45 years,…

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North Downs Way, photo David Anstiss

We slate cavalier treatment of national trail in Dover development

February 2, 2021

We have objected to the cavalier treatment of the North Downs Way National Trail in the ‘White Cliffs Inland Border Facility’ development north of Dover in Kent.  The society has supported the objection from the White Cliffs Group of the Ramblers. The Department for Transport wants to shove the ancient way onto a circuitous route…

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Our new watchdog in the West Midlands

January 26, 2021

We have appointed Jack Jennings as our local correspondent for Sutton Coldfield and North Warwickshire. Jack will act for the society in keeping a close watch on paths, commons, greens and open spaces in his area and defending them from adverse change. Jack has lived in Sutton Coldfield for much of his life, and has…

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