Open Spaces

The open spaces we champion come in all shapes and sizes and can be in the countryside or in towns.
Is the local open space you love and use protected? Don’t take it for granted!

 

How can you defend the open and green spaces that matter to you?

We are very often asked to advise on protecting open spaces - here is a summary of the options that can be considered. One of the most effective ways for you to stand up for your right to use a local open space is to join the Open Spaces Society. As a charity, we depend on public donations to fund our vital campaigning and legal work.

As a member, you can count on the support of our expert team based at our head office in Henley-on-Thames. Depending on where you live, you may also have a local Open Spaces Society correspondent (our name for volunteer) who may be able to help you. Find out if you have a local correspondent here

What is an open space?

The open spaces we champion come in all shapes and sizes. They can be in the countryside but also in towns.

They are usually spaces people have chosen to use for recreation, whether formal or informal.

The open spaces we are asked to defend often comprise land where the public has a right to wander such as a local green space, or an open space that has no legal protection but which people use.

It could be a stretch of grass where children play, local people go blackberry picking or to enjoy a picnic.

But just because you use it doesn’t mean it’s protected unless you do something about it. Read about some of our campaigning work to protect open spaces here.

Is the local open space you love and use protected? Don’t take it for granted.

Download our toolkit below and find out how to protect your local green space

Rally at Panshanger Park, Hertfordshireshire, in 2015.

Get our toolkit

As part of our campaign to save England’s much-loved open spaces, we have published an open spaces toolkit consisting of three handbooks:

How to win local green space through neighbourhood plans
Community assets and protecting open space
Local Green Space Designation

Further resources about Open Spaces

  • Neighbourhood Planning and Protecting Open Spaces

    Neighbourhood planning gives communities in England the opportunity and power to set local planning policies.

  • CPRE Local Green Spaces report, 2022

    CPRE’s February 2022 research into what is currently available in the toolbox of the planning system for local people to protect the local green spaces.

  • Driving and parking on your local green space

    Residents often want to be able to stop cars, motorcycles, and even lorries and other large vehicles, from being driven and parked on their local open space for various reasons.

  • Community Assets & Protecting Open Space

    We tell you how to make use of the community asset process to protect your local open space.

  • Vehicular access across Common Land and Town or Village Greens

    This provides guidance about vehicular access across common land and town or village greens following the repeal of section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

  • How to win local green space through neighbourhood plans

    Neighbourhood planning gives communities in England the opportunity and power to set local planning policies. You can shape the place where you live and protect valued open spaces using the local green space designation.

  • How can open spaces be protected?

    A summary of the basic rules that apply to community open space and it's protection for the local community

  • A charter for England's open spaces

    Read our August 2020 charter for the promotion and protection of open spaces so that everyone in England can benefit.

  • Protecting commons, greens and open spaces training course

    Learn the fundamentals on this comprehensive course to include definitions, registration/designation, protection and management.

  • Frequently Asked Questions: Open Spaces

    Common questions about open spaces

  • Government Guidance - Public Access and Rights of Way in England

    Insider hacks: three Government publications that will help you to protect public access and rights of way.

  • Local Green Space Designation

    The Local Green Space designation (LGS)  protects local green areas of particular importance to local communities.

  • A framework for green space

    A proposal to create a new designation to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities

Our latest posts on Open Spaces

Open Spaces Society marks centenary of important law for common land

Today (29 June) the Open Spaces Society, Britain’s leading pressure group for common land(1),celebrates the centenary of the Law of Property Act 1922.  Thanks to the efforts of the society, the bill was amended in parliament to give the public rights to walk and ride on certain commons, and protect commons from enclosure and encroachment.…
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Norfolk common saved from electricity development

We are delighted that a Norfolk parish council has withdrawn consent for works on the local common, ensuring that the land can remain free and unencumbered. The common is a tiny (one-eighth of a hectare) patch of land south of Broomsthorpe Road in East Rudham, six miles west of Fakenham.  It is owned by the…
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An interview with the IASC

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, recently spoke to the International Association for the Study of the Commons to give a history of Open Spaces Society and our work. The article below appeared in the IASC newsletter. I am Kate Ashbrook, and have been the general secretary (chief executive) of the Open Spaces Society since 1984. …
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Challenging disposal of open space

Greenfields Recreation Ground (GRG) in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, has been used by local people since the 1960s. The land was owned and managed by the council and held as open space under a statutory trust for recreation, but in 2017 it was sold to a developer. Sadly this is a situation that we see all too…
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