We announce winners of 2013 Open Space Award3 min read

We were delighted to announce the winners of our prestigious, national Open Space Award for 2013 at the society’s AGM in Birmingham on Tuesday (16 July).

The winning entry was from the Grange Area Trust for its campaign to save Widmer Fields at Widmer End and Hazlemere in Bucks. The fields have been threatened many times with development. The Trust, which was established with the aim of conserving the 16-hectare fields as a community open space, has bought the land and will eventually register it as a village green.

Tim Crowther (2nd from right) presents the certificate to (from left) Lyn, Ryan, John Moorby, Trevor Dean and Dave Wainman of Grange Area Trust

Tim Crowther (2nd from right) presents the certificate to (from left) Lyn, Ryan, John Moorby, Trevor Dean and Dave Wainman of Grange Area Trust

Says Tim Crowther, chairman of the Open Spaces Society: ‘The Grange Area Trust’s project at Widmer Fields is an inspirational and well-deserved winner of our 2013 Open Space Award. A group of dedicated residents have, over a period of almost 40 years, succeeded in acquiring and protecting from development an outstanding area of public open space. It is no mean achievement. With continuing enlightened and expert management, Widmer Fields will become a priceless asset for the community and one for which future generations will be truly grateful.’

Tim presented the Trust with a certificate and in due course the society will mark the award with a plaque for the site.

Trevor Dean, vice-chairman of the Grange Area Trust, said: ‘Today has made the 40-year wait worthwhile. The trustees and our many helpers are delighted to have won the award. This has truly been a team effort.’

The society’s Special Award for Community Engagement went to the Riverhill regeneration project in Cobham, Surrey, for its work in transforming the Riverhill site from a scrubby, unattractive area, to an accessible wild meadow of exceptional beauty, with a viewing platform.

The project was the brainchild of the Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust (CCHT) and was delivered in partnership with Elmbridge Borough Council. They will continue to manage the site together for the future.

Tim Crowther (left) presents the certificate to Laura Richardson of Elmbridge Borough Council and David Tipping of Cobham Conservation & Heritage Trust

Tim Crowther (left) presents the certificate to Laura Richardson of Elmbridge Borough Council and David Tipping of Cobham Conservation & Heritage Trust

Says Tim Crowther: ‘The way in which Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust has galvanised all-round support for a very successful public open space initiative has been outstanding. It is a striking example of how best to get local people active and involved in a community project. Elmbridge Borough Council deserves recognition too for the vital part it played in getting this project to a successful conclusion. This project is a worthy winner of the Open Spaces Society’s Special Award for Community Engagement.’

David Tipping, vice-chairman of Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to receive the award on behalf of CCHT, Elmbridge Borough Council and the community. This project would not have been achieved without the strong partnership between the two organisations.’

Tim presented the Trust with a certificate and in due course the society will mark the award with a plaque for the site.

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