Part of unique Galleywood Common lost for ever

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Land at Galleywood Common, near Chelmsford in Essex, is to be sacrificed for industrial development. Galleywood is an ancient common which is mentioned in the Domesday Book and was at that time four times its present size.

A four-day public inquiry was held last June into Chelmsford Borough Council’s proposal to swap part of Galleywood Common for another area of common land, to make way for ‘employment development’. There were eight outstanding objections, including from ourselves: we were represented by Mr Malcolm Stuart of the Galleywood Common Association.

The objectors argued that the land proposed in exchange was not of the same nature or suitable for the same purposes as the original land.(1) The land offered is inferior for its grazing, landscape, visual and nature conservation interest and it is more remote for the majority of residents living in the immediate area.

Says our case officer Nicola Hodgson: ‘the loss of this area of the common will be detrimental to those with common rights and the local people who enjoy the common for informal recreation. It is a sad end for all those who campaigned to protect the common.’

1. The application relates to land which is proposed to be appropriated under the Chelmsford Borough Council Galleywood Common Area SB3 Appropriation Order 2009, to construct ‘employment development’ at Temple Farm, Ship Lane, West Hanningfield. The certificate under section 19(1)(a) of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 is to take 5,195 square metres of common land at Galleywood Common and to provide exchange land of 8,324 square metres to the west of the B1007 Stock Road.

There is a legal requirement that the land to be given in exchange is not less in area and is equally advantageous to those with rights of common and to the public. Despite the arguments to the contrary, the public inquiry inspector, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, considered these tests were met.

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