The Open Spaces Society has always been ready to go to law to get things done. We're proud of the results we've achieved in the courts. Today, the legal route is more necessary than ever, as commons, greens, open spaces and paths are all too often neglected by those who are supposed to safeguard them. More and more frequently, we find ourselves having to use the courts to safeguard such spaces.
In the last two years or so we have intervened legally—on our own account or in support of our members—in Bristol, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, North Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, Solihull, Suffolk, on Dartmoor, and many more places.
This autumn, we ask for your help. Your contribution to our legal-action fund will enable us to go to court where needed, and to support our members in fighting their battles to protect vital open spaces.
Grant a Green Appeal
Since the first lockdown in March 2020—people have been discovering how essential their local open spaces are to good health and sanity. But here is the irony: green spaces are under threat from the government’s destruction of the planning system in England, as outlined in the white paper of autumn last year and subsequent ‘consultations’, and in Wales as a result of the outdated planning guidance on open space. The society is deeply concerned that just when we need them most green spaces are at growing risk of development.
There is a simple way to give green spaces greater protection. Many of them are owned by local councils which, as owners, can voluntarily designate green space as town or village green.
This is why we are now launching our Grant a Green campaign—to explain and publicise the need for voluntary registration throughout England and Wales.
Lockdown Spaces Appeal
One of the outcomes of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent restrictions to our way of life has been that local green spaces have been more vital than ever to our health—physical and mental.
In response to this crisis we launched our charters for open spaces in England and Wales. We called on government and local authorities to equalise provision of local green spaces and for communities to act to save them.
Our small society has received more pleas for help to save open spaces than ever before.
Responding to these requests will cost us more money and more staff time. If you or your friends and family have ever found pleasure, comfort or relief in green space, please give to our Lockdown Spaces Appeal. You will be enabling us to continue our fight to protect those spaces which we treasure and need—now more than ever.
We've been busy! In case you missed them on social media, here are some recent campaign success stories we wanted you to know about.
- We successfully intervened in the court of appeal on the Dartmoor backpack-camping case, proving that there is a right to such camping on the Dartmoor commons
- We intervened at Blackbushe aerodrome, Hampshire, saving 46 hectares of Yateley Common from deregistration
- We fought and defeated (with other organisations) Gloucestershire County Council's application to the magistrates' court to close part of an unclassified road
- We rescued part of Richmond Low Common, North Yorkshire, from wrongful deregistration, by threatening judicial review
- New greens and paths were secured at Dorchester-on-Thames after a campaign alongside member, Friends of Dorchester and Little Wittenham Open Spaces.
- Our member East Malling and Larkfield Parish Council dedicated more land as a village green.
- A Blackburn group won support of borough council for new asset of community value.
- We saved a Shropshire footpath from diversion.
- We launched our new charters for open spaces in England and for Wales.
- Chesham Bois common, Buckinghamshire Chilterns, degradation plans were withdrawn in the face of objections that we supported.
We have also been updating how we present our technical fact sheets on the website so that you can more easily access and benefit from the expert advice they contain. See example here and visit our Information Hub for more.
We will claim gift aid on your donation if we already hold a completed gift aid application from you for all past and future payments.
Give Now Online
We are always very grateful for any donations we receive from members or non-members, to help us in our work to protect and conserve common land, village greens, open spaces and public rights of way.
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Make a donation using your CAF account