We have appointed Mrs Helen Slade as our local correspondent for the Isle of Wight. Helen, who lives in Ventnor, will be the society’s eyes and ears, keeping a close watch on paths, commons, greens, open spaces and the progress of the coastal path on the Island, and intervening as necessary.
Helen has recently retired after nearly 20 years as a rights-of-way inspector with the Planning Inspectorate, dealing with all types of rights-of-way cases, as well as commons and village greens, high hedges and hedgerow removal. Before this she was head of the countryside and rights of way section of Darlington Borough Council. After moving to the Isle of Wight in 1999 she was appointed the South Downs Way National Trail officer before becoming the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Officer. She is a former president of the Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management.
Says Helen: ‘I am delighted to be appointed as local correspondent for the Open Spaces Society. I joined the society when I retired as a means of continuing my interest in public access and recreation. The Isle of Wight was the first, and only, local authority to achieve the Year 2000 Milestone target, set by the Countryside Commission, for opening up all its public rights of way. So, I hope not to find too many path problems!’
Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘We are thrilled to have attracted Helen to the voluntary post of local correspondent. With her long professional experience in public rights of way, access, commons and greens, and her love of the countryside, she is the ideal person to represent us on the Island.