New common at Bury Wood in Hertfordshire  

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We welcome the decision of the Planning Inspectorate to grant our application to register as common land approximately 6.3 hectares of woodland near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire.  The land, known as Bury Wood, is adjacent on its north boundary to Sheethanger Common, both of which are owned by the Box Moor Trust.  

Image of the newly-registered land. Photo: Open Spaces Society

In 1968, application provisionally was made to register the land as common land but was subject to an objection, following which the application was withdrawn. At the time, this was the end of the matter. 

However, part 1 of the Commons Act 2006 reopened the opportunity to rescue lost commons which were excluded in these circumstances.  Under paragraph 4 of schedule 2 to the 2006 Act the land became eligible for re-registration.  The application made by the society provided evidence that the land is waste land of a manor, which means that it can be registered as common land. 

Says Frances Kerner, our commons re-registration officer: ‘This is an example of a provisional registration of common land, made under the 1965 Commons Registration Act, being cancelled without full consideration given at the time to the merits of and challenges to the application. While we recognise that the land is in the care of the Box Moor Trust, we are pleased that it now has the added protection of the Commons Act 2006 with access for walkers and riders under section 193 of the Law of Property Act 1925.’ [1] 

[1] Section 193 of the Law of Property Act 1925 confers a right of access to common land and waste in a former urban district or borough.  The right extends to access on foot and on horseback.  Bury Wood lies in the area of the former Hemel Hempstead Municipal Borough. In the society’s view, where waste is registered as common land under the 2006 Act, the effect is to reinforce or revive the right conferred by section 193 over such waste. 

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