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Little comfort from updated planning policies

July 22, 2021

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published an updated version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). There are six main changes but we are disappointed that the revisions do not reflect the submission we made on the consultation. Says our case officer Nicola Hodgson: ‘We remain concerned that the government’s…

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Attendees at the event on 15 July

The Downs are for people, not for cars

July 21, 2021

A celebration of success after 25 years of campaigning On 15 July our general secretary Kate Ashbrook joined group member, Downs for People[1] (DfP), for a celebration of the success in its recent court case challenging the secret grant of a twenty-year licence for zoo parking.  As well as putting an end to parking on…

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Police on Wanstead Flats July 1871. Credit Essex Field Club

Saving ‘the People’s Forest’ – a forgotten anniversary

July 13, 2021

This is a year of anniversaries to celebrate in the contests over open spaces around London; 150 years ago, and after long local struggles in each case, legislation was passed preserving Hampstead Heath and Wandsworth Common from development, campaigns in which the Commons Preservation Society (CPS, and the forerunner of the Open Spaces Society) played…

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1871 poster

150 years ago today – the story of the Wanstead Flats landmark demonstration

July 8, 2021

150 years ago today, on 8th July 1871, thousands of people gathered in Epping Forest to mount a protest. A campaign was beginning – one that the renowned environmental historian Oliver Rackham has called “the origin of the modern British conservation movement.” This campaign, to preserve Epping Forest and other commons from unchecked housing development…

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Hampstead Heath in summer

Hampstead Heath’s milestone Act of Parliament

June 29, 2021

Today, 29 June, is the 150th anniversary of the Hampstead Heath Act 1871, which empowered the Metropolitan Board of Works (MBW) to purchase the Heath for the people.  Now the Heath belongs to the City of London Corporation and is managed for the benefit of the public. We are proud to have played a major…

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Government’s response to Glover Review is lacklustre

June 24, 2021

The Open Spaces Society is disappointed at the government’s initial response to the Glover Review on England’s protected landscapes.  This response is long overdue. The report, written by a panel led by Julian Glover, contains ambitious proposals.  It was published in September 2019 and the then environment secretary, Theresa Villiers, welcomed the findings.  Today the…

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Defra undermined

June 10, 2021

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, comments on the environment secretary’s recent announcements. The environment secretary George Eustice was on a high with his big announcements from Delamere Forest in Cheshire on 18 May. He grandly promised ‘to halt the decline of nature’ with a ‘legally-binding’ target for species abundance (to be defined) by 2030, restoration…

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Old allies rekindle the campaign for national parks

June 1, 2021

With a government announcement on the review of England’s protected landscapes imminent, our general secretary Kate Ashbrook reflects on the seventieth anniversary of national parks and the work still to be done. Two years ago, I enjoyed a wonderful day in the Peak District—a place I love and to which I long to return once…

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High court puts a stop to zoo parking on Bristol downs

May 24, 2021

We have welcomed a high court order which, by 2022, will bring to an end decades of parking on Clifton and Durdham Downs to accommodate visitors to Bristol zoo. We celebrate the successful outcome of a High Court challenge to zoo parking on the Downs in Bristol.  The group Downs for People, a member of…

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Green spaces, open places

April 14, 2021

The Open Spaces Society’s call to candidates in the Senedd election, 6 May 2021. The pandemic has shown the importance of public paths and open spaces for recreation and relaxation, now is the time to invest in them for the health and well-being of the people of Wales. The Open Spaces Society[1] calls on candidates…

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