Latest News

Bob Embleton / Footpath to Trehumfrey Farm

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update

September 22, 2020

We thank you for visiting our website and hope that you remain safe and well. Our office is only partially staffed at the moment, so responding to telephone calls or postal enquiries will take a little longer than usual, however you will find plenty of information and advice on this website, and we can readily…

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Agricultural grants must be properly enforced

September 8, 2020

We have criticised as weak and ineffective the government’s proposals for monitoring and enforcing compliance with agricultural grants.   In its consultation, Financial Assistance Statutory Instrument, the government proposes to monitor the use of public funds for delivering public goods as part of the new agricultural grant programme post Brexit.  However, it only proposes to…

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Minister refuses to extend deadline for registering common land

September 3, 2020

We are dismayed that environment minister John Gardiner has refused to extend the deadline for re-registering lost commons beyond the end of December 2020. The society is concerned that, in seven English local authority areas1, the deadline for registering lost commons is 31 December, less than four months away.  The research to uncover lost commons…

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Expanding our freedoms

August 21, 2020

The Open Spaces Society has long campaigned for responsible freedom to roam away from public paths in England and Wales.  The Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000 went some way towards achieving this, but the rights were only for walkers and were limited to registered commons, and mapped areas of mountain, moor, heath…

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Boost for Neighbourhood Planning Groups

August 13, 2020

Following the launch earlier this month of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s  Planning for the Future consultation, funding in the form of grants made to community groups involved with shaping their local planning policy  is set to almost double. Government grants to individual neighbourhood planning groups in both urban and deprived areas…

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Taking people out of planning

August 10, 2020

With many other environmental charities, we have condemned the government’s proposals to speed up the planning process and reduce democratic involvement. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published a consultation, Planning for the Future, with closing date of 29 October 2020. This proposes a total rewrite of the rules first set out…

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New charter for open spaces

August 3, 2020

Today we call for a better deal for open spaces.  We have published a charter and have written to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and to all of England’s planning authorities. We call on government to introduce a national plan and standards for open spaces, and to place…

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Extend deadlines to rescue common land and village greens

July 6, 2020

We have urged the government to extend deadlines to enable the public to safeguard common land and town and village greens. This would be in line with the extension of deadlines to allow development to proceed, under the Business and Planning Bill 2019-21. The society has written to the environment minister, Lord Gardiner. We are…

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Secret deal on the Downs

June 30, 2020

We have supported the Downs for People in Bristol in its exposure of a secret deal between Bristol City Councillors and the Merchant Venturers to allow Bristol Zoo to continue to use the magnificent Durdham Downs for car parking until 2039.  The society has opposed the parking for many years; the council’s renewal of the…

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Vocal for local

June 17, 2020

Our general secretary Kate Ashbrook considers life for the Open Spaces Society during lockdown. As lockdown began, I foolishly thought we would have time to catch up with all those long-deferred jobs.  I was wrong: we have been busier than ever. Developers are not deterred by a pandemic: open spaces remain at risk, perhaps more…

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