Latest News

The ethical gift

November 10, 2019

Would you like to find a present for outdoorsy friends or family with a conscience? Ethical and environmentally friendly gifts are increasingly popular and rightly so. The Open Spaces Society is a small charity that fights to conserve and promote our environment by seeking protection for paths and open spaces, so that everyone can enjoy…

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Our case officer Nicola Hodgson celebrates 20 years with Open Spaces Society

November 7, 2019

In 1999, solicitor Nicola Hodgson was instructed by Sunningwell Parish Council, in Oxfordshire, to register a piece of land as a village green – thereby preventing two new houses being built on the site which had, for decades, been popular with families and dog walkers. The case went to the House of Lords, resulting in…

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Bullies beware!

October 31, 2019

Through our 154-year history, the Open Spaces Society has developed a proud record of legal action. We fought the enclosures, and defended commoners’ rights; we have tested the law in the courts many times. We have suffered losses, but we also have landmark victories to our name. One such victory was our challenge to Dorset…

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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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Our dismay at Durham County Council’s proposed common-land swap

October 29, 2019

We have objected strongly to an application from Durham County Council to deregister part of The Sands common in the city centre in order to build a new council headquarters, and to offer in exchange land to the north of the common but quite separate from it. The application, under section 16 of the Commons…

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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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Northern downfall of Black Mountain from Waun Lefrith

Len Clark, 1916 – 2019

October 24, 2019

Our vice-president Len Clark has died aged 103. Len was a pillar of strength to, and wise critic of, numerous organisations: the Youth Hostels Association (YHA), National Trust, Campaign for National Parks and ourselves. In 1978 he became our commons liaison officer, a roving researcher who travelled England and Wales on his Honda 50 motorbike…

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Bovingdon Common Hertfordshire

We help to save part of Hertfordshire common

October 24, 2019

We are delighted that we have helped to save part of a Hertfordshire common. The land is a wide roadside verge of High Street, in the village of Bovingdon, four miles south-west of Hemel Hempstead. Dacorum Borough Council wanted to use 140 square metres of the common for six, surfaced, car-parking bays, near the junction…

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OSS Allendale common Helipad October 2018

Helipad on Northumberland common

October 15, 2019

We have objected to a planning application from the East Allenheads Estate which would damage part of Allendale Common in Northumberland.  The application is for a helicopter-landing area with concrete hard-standing. The applicant claims that this is a retrospective application to re-surface an existing helicopter landing, but the Open Spaces Society and other objectors argue…

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