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Essex County Council has registered an open space at Brighton Road, Holland-on-Sea near Clacton-on-Sea as a town green.
The application for green status was made by Mrs Sharon Bennett, a member of the society, in 2009 on the grounds that local people had used the land for informal recreation, without asking permission or being stopped, for 20 years.
The three-acre site, close to the seafront, is thereby protected from development, and local people have the right to enjoy informal recreation there.
Historically the open space was farmland, then the surrounding area was developed. Tendring District Council bought the land in 1964. Sharon gathered evidence from local people that they had used the land over a long period for camping, ballgames and picnicking. It was also used as the assembly point for the Holland-on-Sea carnival. It is enjoyed to this day for dog walking, picnics and blackberrying, by people of all ages.
Tendring has tried to sell parts of the land for development, including for a health centre, but the plans were abandoned due to lack of funds. Sharon submitted her application for a green to Essex County Council, the registration authority, in 2009. A public inquiry was held in June 2012, and the inspector Alun Alesbury (a barrister) recommended to the council that it approve the application, which it did on 24 August 2012.
Says Sharon: ‘The process of registering the land as a green has been stressful, but also very interesting and satisfying. All those who were involved in the application process are extremely pleased with the result and we hope that the many regular users will continue to take pleasure in the open space. It will now be enjoyed by future generations too, when there will be an even greater imperative to preserve and protect open spaces. The help and advice provided by the Open Spaces Society was invaluable.’