High Court win for Warneford Meadow campaigners

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A High Court judge has ruled that the 20-acre Warneford Meadow in east Oxford can be registered as a town green.

Warneford Meadow

Warneford Meadow

Judge Waksman QC rejected the application for judicial review from the landowner, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health NHS Trust.  The trust challenged Oxfordshire County Council’s decision in April 2009 to register the land as a green. 

The application for registration was made by Mr Paul Deluce in 2006.  He was backed by the Friends of Warneford Meadow, a member of the Open Spaces Society who assisted the Friends with their campaign and donated £500 towards their costs.

For land to be registered as a green, local people must prove that they have used it for informal recreation for at least 20 years, without permission and without being stopped.  The appellants argued that signs had made it clear that the landowner was contesting the public’s use of the land, and that there was insufficient evidence of use by people who lived in the immediate neighbourhood (Hill Top Road).  After full consideration of the issues, the judge rejected both these arguments.

Says our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook: ‘We congratulate Paul Deluce and the Friends of Warneford Meadow for their public-spirited and courageous campaign.  This is an important area of relatively wild land close to Oxford city centre.  It is much loved and treasured by the public as a green lung.

‘Through their persistence and determination the Friends have secured this space for recreation and enjoyment by the public, and as a haven for wildlife.  The land was threatened with development, but now it is protected as a green.  We hope it is safe for ever.’

To read the judgment, click here

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