Latest News

Urban green space report misses trick  

March 19, 2024

We have welcomed the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s letter to the Defra secretary, Stephen Barclay, with its findings on its inquiry into urban green spaces.  The committee concluded that ‘these vital parts of communities are under serious threat’ and in need of urgent action to reverse their national decline, despite their immense environmental…

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Brat Tor and Great Links, Dartmoor Photo: Open Spaces Society

Backpack camping: Dartmoor National Park Authority to appeal

April 14, 2023

We are delighted that the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) members have unanimously agreed to appeal against the high court judgment on the Dartmoor backpack camping case.  The owners of Stall Moor common. Alexander and Diana Darwall, challenged the DNPA’s argument that the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985, in giving the public the right to walk…

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New green at Long Ditton, Surrey

April 3, 2023

We are delighted that Elmbridge Borough Council in Surrey has voluntarily registered Stokes Field, Long Ditton, as a village green. This follows a long campaign by the society. Comprising about eight hectares of mixed woodland, open grassland and scrub intersected by numerous paths, the land is also a Local Nature Reserve. After Elmbridge Council’s consultants…

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Café plans for Bristol Downs abandoned

March 2, 2023

We have welcomed the decision to abandon plans for a café on the downs in Bristol close to the Avon Gorge.  The society criticised the Downs Committee[1] , which put forward the plans, for squandering public money on unlawful and undesirable projects.  Meanwhile the committee is failing adequately to carry out its statutory responsibilities. The Downs…

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Kingsmead Field, Kent 1

Government’s lost chance to achieve levelling up

February 27, 2023

We have lamented the government’s failure to equalise the provision of green spaces for all.  Responding to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the society sets out its priorities for government in a five-point plan. The society wants to see: 1       an improvement in the process…

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National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) consultation: our hopes and fears

January 6, 2023

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC) issued a consultation on 22 December seeking views on how to develop national planning policy in England, to support the government’s wider objectives. The proposals include amendments to the NPPF, the preparation of National Development Management Plans (NDMPs), policy to support levelling up, and how national…

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Photograph of the Dyke Hills with the landowner, Keith Ives (centre). Louise Aukland (left) and Becky Waller (right) submitted an application for this to be registered as a village green

New village greens at Dorchester on Thames and Little Wittenham, Oxfordshire

October 31, 2022

We are celebrating the registration of two new village green at Dorchester on Thames and Little Wittenham in Oxfordshire.  The greens at the historic Dyke Hills (3.03 hectares), a scheduled Iron Age settlement, and at Day’s Lock Meadow (2.37 hectares) beside the River Thames.  They have been voluntarily registered by a beneficent landowner, Keith Ives.…

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Autumn crisis

October 26, 2022

Our general secretary Kate Ashbrook reflects on the current attack on the environment. ‘… now it is time unequivocally to act’ wrote Louis MacNeice in Autumn Journal in 1938.  And so it is in this autumn, when government has suddenly made a full-frontal onslaught on the environment, nature, and our enjoyment of them. First there…

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Loss of Longhorsley green refused

October 21, 2022

We have welcomed a decision to retain part of Longhorsley village green, which the parish council wanted to convert to a private driveway. Longhorsley Parish Council wanted to sell off around 54 square metres of Longhorsley green, in this case part of the verge of East Road, in the Northumberland village east of the junction…

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Hertfordshire green to garden gambit rejected

October 21, 2022

We have welcomed a decision to preserve part of Preston recreation ground, in Hertfordshire, which the parish council wanted to convert to a private garden. Preston Parish Council wanted to sell off around 70 square metres of Preston recreation ground, which lies on the west side of Hitchin Road, in the village west of Stevenage. …

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