Latest News

Attendees at the event on 15 July

The Society celebrates the strength of people power

October 25, 2021

‘So often success depends on the power of people coming together.’  So writes Kate Ashbrook, the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, in Opinion (page 1) of the society’s magazine Open Space, published today (25 October). Kate cites recent examples in which the society has been involved: saving Bristol’s downs from car-parking by the Downs…

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Little comfort from updated planning policies

July 22, 2021

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published an updated version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). There are six main changes but we are disappointed that the revisions do not reflect the submission we made on the consultation. Says our case officer Nicola Hodgson: ‘We remain concerned that the government’s…

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Hampstead Heath in summer

Hampstead Heath’s milestone Act of Parliament

June 29, 2021

Today, 29 June, is the 150th anniversary of the Hampstead Heath Act 1871, which empowered the Metropolitan Board of Works (MBW) to purchase the Heath for the people.  Now the Heath belongs to the City of London Corporation and is managed for the benefit of the public. We are proud to have played a major…

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Government’s response to Glover Review is lacklustre

June 24, 2021

The Open Spaces Society is disappointed at the government’s initial response to the Glover Review on England’s protected landscapes.  This response is long overdue. The report, written by a panel led by Julian Glover, contains ambitious proposals.  It was published in September 2019 and the then environment secretary, Theresa Villiers, welcomed the findings.  Today the…

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Planning to grant a green?

June 15, 2021

Grant a Green On 26 April we launched our Grant a Green campaign, calling on local councils in England and Wales voluntarily to register their open spaces as town or village greens. Registration will give local people rights of recreation on the land and protect it from development. Now is the time to secure our…

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Defra undermined

June 10, 2021

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, comments on the environment secretary’s recent announcements. The environment secretary George Eustice was on a high with his big announcements from Delamere Forest in Cheshire on 18 May. He grandly promised ‘to halt the decline of nature’ with a ‘legally-binding’ target for species abundance (to be defined) by 2030, restoration…

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Old allies rekindle the campaign for national parks

June 1, 2021

With a government announcement on the review of England’s protected landscapes imminent, our general secretary Kate Ashbrook reflects on the seventieth anniversary of national parks and the work still to be done. Two years ago, I enjoyed a wonderful day in the Peak District—a place I love and to which I long to return once…

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Grant a green: The Open Spaces Society’s call to local councils

April 29, 2021

Today we launch our Grant A Green campaign.  The society is to urge local councils in England and Wales voluntarily to register their open spaces as town or village greens[1], to protect them from development and give local people rights of recreation there. It is more important now than ever to secure our green spaces. …

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New activist in Kirklees

April 29, 2021

We have appointed Stephen Hill as our local correspondent for Kirklees in West Yorkshire. Stephen will keep a close watch on paths, commons, greens and open spaces. Stephen lives in East Bierley, four miles south-east of Bradford.  He has recently retired from a long career in civil engineering, working on many large infrastructure projects in…

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Ronald Smith: 14 March 1923 – 25 February 2021

April 27, 2021

Our vice-president Ronald Smith has died aged 97.  He was our treasurer from 1989 to 1995, and we elected him as a vice-president in 2010 in place of his wife Margaret who died that year.  He was also our representative on both the Hampstead Heath Management and Consultative Committees. Ronald was born in Hendon in…

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