Latest News

Hanwell fence The fence after local people had broken through to the canal

Hanwell land-grab

June 16, 2020

Our member Steven Toft describes the fight by Hanwell residents to wrest their open space from land-grabbers In April 2019, residents of Hanwell in Ealing, west London, were dismayed that part of their park had been fenced off. St Margaret’s open space sits by the Grand Union Canal and is part of Brent River Park.…

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We oppose Clapham Common fencing plan

April 26, 2020

We have objected to an application from Lambeth Borough Council for fencing on Clapham Common. The council wants to erect temporary steel fencing around the ‘events site’ on the common for three weeks, from 15 August to 5 September, with the intention of holding festivals there.  Because the land is common, it must have the…

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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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Finsbury Park

Finsbury Park is vital for our health and well-being

August 13, 2019

‘Finsbury Park, and other open spaces in London and beyond, are vital for our health and well-being.’ So said Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary, at celebrations to mark Finsbury Park’s 150th anniversary. Kate was taking part in a discussion group, with Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, and Hugh White, chair of the…

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Fight to stop major development at Harrow School

October 3, 2018

We have objected to Harrow School’s appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a new science building and sports hall. The society, which is concerned to protect public paths and open spaces, considers that the development would have a significant impact on Metropolitan Open Land and the attractive, historic landscape of the area, as…

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Protests over unacceptable damage to Clapham Common

August 23, 2018

The society is appealing to Lambeth Council not to allow another six-week long Winterville festival on Clapham Common in south London. We consider it shocking that Winterville is planned to take place again, when the Common has still not recovered from the damage caused by last year’s festival.  The so-called ‘events area’ on the common,…

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We call for new policy in London Plan to save green spaces

March 1, 2018

In our response to the London Mayor’s draft new London Plan we have called for London boroughs to dedicate their green spaces as town greens. The society has proposed the inclusion of a new policy: ‘Boroughs should dedicate any green spaces in their ownership as town greens, under the Commons Act 2006. This will protect…

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Protests over abuse of Clapham Common

February 27, 2018

Our local correspondent Jeremy Clyne has written to Lambeth Council to protest against the exploitation of open space in the borough, and the damage caused. The situation has become so critical that local people are saying the flagship Clapham Common might be better renamed ‘Clapham Commercial’. A large swathe of the common is still fenced…

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Court of Appeal rules against quiet enjoyment of London’s parks

November 16, 2017

We are disappointed that the Court of Appeal has upheld the use of London parks for major ticket-only entertainments. In its judgment today,(1) the court finds that Haringey borough council acted lawfully in hiring out part of Finsbury Park for the purposes of a major entertainment event, the Wireless Festival, in 2016.(2) The court rejected…

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Anger at decision to allow seizure of common land at Haven Green, Ealing

August 7, 2017

The Open Spaces Society and the Friends of Haven Green are furious that the Environment Secretary has approved a retrospective application from Ealing Council to use part of Haven Green common as a cycle hub, and to deregister 188 square metres of the common.  The decision follows a four-day public inquiry held in March and…

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