We are celebrating the decision by Helen Slade of the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the environment secretary, to refuse consent for works on Englefield Green village green in Surrey.
The land is widely used by local people, and the inspector confirmed that the public have the right to enjoy the green for air and exercise, on both foot and horseback.
An application was made by Runnymede Borough Council to erect 47metres of fencing and play equipment, to surface the area, and move a footpath, on the only registered green in the borough.
The Open Spaces Society, represented by Bob Milton, and many local people, including a member of the society, Andrew Telford, objected to the application. Helen Slade presided over a three-day inquiry in December 2009 and a further two days in January 2010.
Objections were made about the exclusion of the public and the need to uphold the village green protective legislation, and to ensure the terms of the Egham Inclosure Act 1814 and Award of 1817 were followed.
The inspector concluded: ‘the adverse effects of the proposal on the neighbourhood, on the landscape and on the wider rights of access outweigh the benefit to a limited number of local residents’.
The inspector also said that the application was inconsistent with the policy of the government to protect, conserve and enhance the stock of commons and greens.
Nicola Hodgson, our case officer, says: ‘We are delighted that the inspector has refused the application and upheld the rights of the public to use the land.’