Latest News

The ethical gift

November 10, 2019

Would you like to find a present for outdoorsy friends or family with a conscience? Ethical and environmentally friendly gifts are increasingly popular and rightly so. The Open Spaces Society is a small charity that fights to conserve and promote our environment by seeking protection for paths and open spaces, so that everyone can enjoy…

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Our case officer Nicola Hodgson celebrates 20 years with Open Spaces Society

November 7, 2019

In 1999, solicitor Nicola Hodgson was instructed by Sunningwell Parish Council, in Oxfordshire, to register a piece of land as a village green – thereby preventing two new houses being built on the site which had, for decades, been popular with families and dog walkers. The case went to the House of Lords, resulting in…

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We fight development on Hampshire common

October 29, 2019

We have objected to an application from Mr Christopher Ball to build three houses and an access road on Odiham Common in Hampshire. The land, at Potbridge, is registered common land. Any development on common land requires the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in addition to any planning…

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Our dismay at Durham County Council’s proposed common-land swap

October 29, 2019

We have objected strongly to an application from Durham County Council to deregister part of The Sands common in the city centre in order to build a new council headquarters, and to offer in exchange land to the north of the common but quite separate from it. The application, under section 16 of the Commons…

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The meaning of ‘curtilage’

October 28, 2019

On 12 June this year, inspector Alan Beckett granted an application to deregister around 46 hectares of Blackbushe aerodrome at Yateley Common.  The application, made by Blackbushe Airport Ltd (BAL), was made under paragraph 6 of schedule 2 to the Commons Act 2006, on the basis that the land was ‘covered by a building or…

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OSS Allendale common Helipad October 2018

Helipad on Northumberland common

October 15, 2019

We have objected to a planning application from the East Allenheads Estate which would damage part of Allendale Common in Northumberland.  The application is for a helicopter-landing area with concrete hard-standing. The applicant claims that this is a retrospective application to re-surface an existing helicopter landing, but the Open Spaces Society and other objectors argue…

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We fight fencing plan on Ugthorpe Common

October 8, 2019

The society has objected to an application from the Mulgrave Estate for nearly a mile of new fencing on Ugthorpe Common near Whitby in the North York Moors National Park.  This is in addition to a retrospective application to replace more than two miles of fencing on the common. The estate applied to the Secretary…

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Lambeth council bows to pressure over events on open space

September 3, 2019

A London council has bowed to pressure over its controversial policy of allowing major events to be held on its parks and open spaces. Lambeth Borough Council, which has come under fierce criticism for making money out of allowing damaging commercial events, has at last agreed that in future it will seek permission from the…

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Insider hacks: Public access and rights of way guidance the Government doesn’t want you to see

August 13, 2019

The Government has progressively reduced the amount of information available to the public on the web. Sometimes it has done this by rewriting guidance so that it is easier to understand — but sometimes it has just removed guidance altogether, either because it thinks there is insufficient interest, or because no-one is left to update…

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Unlawful fence removed from Nottinghamshire common

August 13, 2019

Nottinghamshire County Council has persuaded a householder to remove an unlawful fence from Hanging Hill Lane common, Normanton-on-Trent. We urged the council to act after the environment secretary rejected a retrospective application for works on common land. The common is a long strip, consisting of Hanging Hill Lane and a broad verge on either side.…

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