November Update – Open Spaces Society

As autumn progresses we see no end to the threat to open spaces and paths that are a cherished part of our well-being and heritage. We have received unprecedented requests for help and advice since the pandemic and we continue to campaign against government policy that would reduce the opportunity for local people to have a say about development that affects their outdoors. But, our campaigning works. We share some recent success stories in this update.

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.

As a charity with no government funding, we depend on the generosity of people like you to continue our vital work, now more than ever.

Our Campaigning Works!

After a long campaign Oxfordshire County Council recently completed the registration of a new town green at Witney, along with a new footpath, negotiated as part of a deal with developer Richmond Care Homes.

Well done to Scorton Parish Council, North Yorkshire who are taking an active approach to protecting open spaces in their community and recently reported that Jubilee Green now benefits from village green registered Status.

With each successful town or village green registration the local community will be able to enjoy their recreation in the knowledge that the land is protected from future development.

Your support will help us to keep the protection of community open spaces in the spotlight where they belong.

Livestock diversions and public paths

Agricultural representative bodies have lobbied Defra Ministers for legislation to facilitate farmer-managed diversions on public paths, to avoid cattle and other livestock. We have opposed their proposals, and called for a sequential approach to reducing risk to be more thoroughly tested before any further measures are considered

News from Wales

We have called for the introduction of a realistic fee for commons-swap planning applications that are made in Wales. Under English law the applicant makes a contribution to the administrative costs when applying to deregister common land and this may act as a deterrent to repeated applications which have only minor changes.

We have agreed to be part of a vision to protect Wales’s local spaces through good design and community involvement, by signing up to the

We look at different types of problem that make a path impassable as opposed to ‘out of repair’. As a member of the public what can you do if you come across an obstruction? Who is responsible? What is the legislation for dealing with these issues?

Supporting the work of the Open Spaces Society

We couldn’t keep fighting to protect commons, greens, open spaces and public paths without our members. We rely on subscriptions to fund our work and provide a mandate for action.

Open Spaces Society 25a Bell Street Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 2BA