Latest News

Commons victory at historic Berkhamsted

March 12, 2020

We are delighted that Hertfordshire County Council has added a piece of Berkhamsted Common to the common-land register.  This will protect a further part of this historic common from development. The land is 0.17 hectares to the north of Britwell Drive, near Berkhamsted Golf Club (about one kilometre north-west of Berkhamsted). The land was subject…

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The rise and fall of village greens

March 5, 2020

The Supreme Court has dealt a bitter blow to communities wanting to protect their open spaces. As a result of a judgment last December concerning two green spaces, in Lancashire and Surrey, it has become much more difficult to protect land and assert rights of recreation on it. Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, follows the…

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Commons past and present – Downley local history group event

March 5, 2020

Our commons re-registration officer Frances Kerner gave an illustrated talk on 29 February 2020 at Downley Memorial Hall entitled, Downley Common, its Origin and Survival within the Manor of West Wycombe. The hall was packed, with 92 people present. Frances’s talk traced the general history of common land, including its survival and loss. As an…

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Archive progress

February 27, 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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Kingsmead Field, Canterbury, is made a village green

January 23, 2020

Canterbury City Council has dedicated three acres of Kingsmead Field in Kent as a village green. Kent County Council approved the registration last month. Now that the land is registered it is protected from development and local people have rights of recreation here. Canterbury City Council agreed to dedicate the land in return for a…

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Mass protest against missing Thames-side footbridge at Fawley

November 19, 2019

On Saturday 16 November more than 150 people, from Henley-on-Thames and beyond, joined a rally to protest at the year-long closure of Fawley footpath 12 due to a missing footbridge at Fawley Court in Buckinghamshire. The closure is forcing walkers onto the dangerous A4155 Henley-to-Marlow road. The protest was organised by the Ramblers Henley and…

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We fight Henley Festival footpath closure

November 7, 2019

We have objected to plans by the Henley Festival for the temporary closure of the Thames Path National Trail in July 2020. Every year since 1998 the Festival has applied to Wokingham Borough Council, the highway authority, for the temporary closure of the path before, during and after the Festival—and the council has agreed. The…

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We fight development on Hampshire common

October 29, 2019

We have objected to an application from Mr Christopher Ball to build three houses and an access road on Odiham Common in Hampshire. The land, at Potbridge, is registered common land. Any development on common land requires the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in addition to any planning…

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The meaning of ‘curtilage’

October 28, 2019

On 12 June this year, inspector Alan Beckett granted an application to deregister around 46 hectares of Blackbushe aerodrome at Yateley Common.  The application, made by Blackbushe Airport Ltd (BAL), was made under paragraph 6 of schedule 2 to the Commons Act 2006, on the basis that the land was ‘covered by a building or…

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Leigh Common saved from development

October 28, 2019

Through court action the society has saved part of Leigh Common from developers. Leigh Common is a nine-hectare woodland and grassland nature reserve in Colehill, near Wimborne—the first common land in Dorset to be registered in 1967 and given permanent protection.  In 2016 developers Gleeson Developments Ltd applied to Dorset County Council (now Dorset Council)…

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