Latest News

Coffey kowtows to landowners and destroys public-path consensus

October 25, 2023

We are dismayed that the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, has destroyed the 2010 consensus for the future of public paths. This consensus was forged by a stakeholder working group (SWG) set up to advise government. It is composed of experienced members reflecting the interests of users, local authorities, and landowners. Dr Coffey has cherry-picked from…

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Doughty Diane Andrewes, is elected our vice-president

July 7, 2023

Our annual general meeting has elected activist Diane Andrewes as one of our vice-presidents.  Diane, a resident of Bursledon, south Hampshire, since 1964, has been a member of the society for more than 30 years. She served as a trustee from 1993-1995, 2007-09, and 2012-2018. Diane is a founder member of the Bursledon Rights of…

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Time for a new manifesto for public access

April 24, 2023

‘It is time for a new manifesto for public access in town and country,’ said Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary. Kate was giving the keynote speech at the event to mark the 91st anniversary of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout on 24 April 1932.  The celebrations were held at Hayfield village hall, Derbyshire, at…

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Brat Tor and Great Links, Dartmoor Photo: Open Spaces Society

Backpack camping: Dartmoor National Park Authority to appeal

April 14, 2023

We are delighted that the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) members have unanimously agreed to appeal against the high court judgment on the Dartmoor backpack camping case.  The owners of Stall Moor common. Alexander and Diana Darwall, challenged the DNPA’s argument that the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985, in giving the public the right to walk…

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Café plans for Bristol Downs abandoned

March 2, 2023

We have welcomed the decision to abandon plans for a café on the downs in Bristol close to the Avon Gorge.  The society criticised the Downs Committee[1] , which put forward the plans, for squandering public money on unlawful and undesirable projects.  Meanwhile the committee is failing adequately to carry out its statutory responsibilities. The Downs…

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National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) consultation: our hopes and fears

January 6, 2023

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC) issued a consultation on 22 December seeking views on how to develop national planning policy in England, to support the government’s wider objectives. The proposals include amendments to the NPPF, the preparation of National Development Management Plans (NDMPs), policy to support levelling up, and how national…

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Inspector kicks out plan for football pitches on London common land

December 2, 2022

With local residents we have scored a big win for public open space by defeating controversial plans for a commercial football facility on common land. Following a seven-day public inquiry, a government-appointed planning inspector has kicked out proposed fenced and floodlit football-pitches in a tranquil and secluded part of Tooting Bec Common, known as the…

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Our loyal member Tony Newman (1929-2021)

December 2, 2022

Our member for 50 years, the late Tony Newman, has left us a generous legacy. Tony was born in Tottenham, north London, in 1929.  He lived in London and Surrey during his childhood, and began his working life in Thomas Cook’s head office in Piccadilly, in the winter-sports department.  After National Service, from 1947 to…

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Our new campaigner in Buckinghamshire’s former Chiltern district

November 28, 2022

We have appointed Aidan Harris as our local correspondent for the former Chiltern district in Buckinghamshire. On behalf of the society, Aidan will champion public paths, and commons, greens and other open spaces in his patch.  He will respond to proposals to alter the routes of public paths and advise the society and its members…

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A juggling act

April 26, 2022

Tywardreath and Par Parish Council (between Fowey and St Austell in Cornwall) set up a neighbourhood development plan (NDP) steering group. It has created a plan which protects open spaces (land and water) in the parish, setting an example to other communities. Alison White, the group’s secretary and a member of the society, provides tips…

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