Latest News

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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Archive progress

June 16, 2020

The Special Collections team at the University of Reading and the Museum of English Rural Life (the MERL) has been working with the society to care for, and to open, our archive to the public and to potential researchers. The completed cataloguing work, and the collected oral histories of key staff members, will reveal our…

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People on foot lose out to cars in M42 road scheme

June 10, 2020

We are deeply disappointed that the Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Grant Shapps, has ignored the needs of pedestrians and approved a major scheme for the improvement of Junction 6 of the M42 in the West Midlands. The society is concerned that the development will sever principal routes running east-west and to Birmingham International…

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The old ways of Melbourne second edition cover

Local correspondent authors new edition of Melbourne path history title

May 19, 2020

Our local correspondent for south Derbysire and north west Leicestershire since 2010, Barry Thomas, has updated his book ‘The old ways of Melbourne – the history of public rights of way in a Derbyshire village’. Barry describes the nature of public rights of way and the history of the path network in the parish of…

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We deplore threat to ancient road in South Downs National Park

May 15, 2020

We have objected to a planning application for a campsite and buildings at Coldwaltham, West Sussex, in the South Downs National Park.  The application was made by Mr Hugh Sandie of Pegs and Pitches Camping.   Our particular concern is the threat to the adjoining Colebrook Lane.  We have criticised West Sussex County Council for…

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Kent parish council dedicates a green

May 5, 2020

We have commended our member East Malling and Larkfield Parish Council in Kent for dedicating land as a village green.  Kent County Council approved the registration in February.   The one-acre land is known as Whimbrel Village Green and is an area of open space within a housing estate (the streets of which are named…

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