Latest News

We criticise new road-junction on Leigh Common, Dorset

July 12, 2018

We have criticised the Secretary of State for Environment for granting consent for further works on Leigh Common near Wimborne in Dorset.  However, we welcome the views of his inspector that there are ‘clear policy reasons to reject an application for this proposal’ under the procedure adopted by the developers, even though she went on…

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Parks under unprecedented pressure

July 4, 2018

‘Our public parks are under unprecedented pressure, 50 years after a law which was intended to protect and improve the countryside close to people’s homes.’ So declared our vice-president, Paul Clayden, at our annual general meeting in London today (5 July). ‘This week [3 July] we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Countryside Act 1968,…

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Countryside Act at 50

July 3, 2018

On 3 July we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Countryside Act 1968, an important piece of legislation.  The Open Spaces Society, with the Ramblers, played a major role in its genesis.  Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, explains its history and significance. The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, which led to…

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What tragedy?

June 29, 2018

This year is the fiftieth anniversary of an influential article which, wrongly, gave commons a bad name. In 1968 Science magazine published a paper called ‘The tragedy of the commons’ by biologist Garrett Hardin. Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, explains. This was about the global population problem, in part inspired by an 1833 pamphlet by…

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The rescue of Cassiobridge Common, Watford

June 28, 2018

We are celebrating the registration of Cassiobridge Common in Watford as a ‘new’ common. Hertfordshire County Council has approved its own proposal to register the common for the first time, which will ensure it is protected from development and encroachment. The common is a small, nearly one hectare, area of green space next to the…

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Campaign to reopen ancient Gloucestershire route

June 12, 2018

We are pressing Gloucestershire County Council to reopen the ancient Bentley Lane, which runs to the east of Southam village onto Cleeve Common. The lane has been blocked by gates since 2010. The old track is laid out in the Bishops Cleeve Inclosure Award of 1836 with a width of 30 feet. It leads directly…

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Worcestershire Council rules out Trimpley Green loss

May 29, 2018

We have welcomed the decision of Worcestershire County Council to reject an application to deregister part of Trimpley Green, common land near Kidderminster. The application was made to the council in July 2016, in relation to land east of the pond on the Habberley road. The application proposed to deregister common land adjacent to Crofton…

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Common-land swap defeated at Therfield Heath

May 21, 2018

With other objectors we are delighted to have defeated the proposed exchange of common land at Therfield Heath, near Royston in Hertfordshire. The Conservators of Therfield Heath and Greens wanted to swap 1.65 acres of common land off Sun Hill for the same area of woodland over a mile away. The proposed exchange was to…

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Government misses the opportunity to protect open space

May 10, 2018

We have criticised the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for its lack of protection of open space.  The ministry has recently consulted on a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), to which the we have responded. In particular, the society believes that the proposed new NPPF undermines the Local Green Space (LGS) designation…

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Post-Brexit funding for farmers must include support for public access and common land

May 8, 2018

We have called for post-Brexit funding for agriculture to include support for public access to the countryside. The society has responded to the government’s consultation, Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit, a precursor to the Agriculture Bill. The government has said that public money must pay…

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