Is there an open space near you which is loved and used by you and your community? It could be a traditional village green, a meadow or a scruffy, neglected patch behind the housing estate where you pick blackberries. Open spaces are to be found in urban and rural areas and they provide an important amenity. We play, cycle and run on them. They are where we walk our dogs, enjoy a picnic or sit and enjoy the view. We used them in all kinds of ways that make a big difference to our lives.
But now the law is putting your local spaces at risk.
In the past, communities could register their local open space as a town or village green, securing their rights to enjoy it and protecting it from being built on. Now the Growth and Infrastructure Act decrees that, throughout England, landowners can challenge your use of the green for informal recreation and you then have only one year in which to register it. The danger is that the land could be developed before you even know it’s at risk.
The Open Spaces Society campaigns to secure such land for local communities. In Wales we aim to persuade the government to retain the current law and not to introduce similar measures to England.
England’s planning laws have changed too and the society is anxious to see greater use of the new designation of Local Green Space, to protect precious open spaces from development.
The society is also active in the defence of common land, a historic land-type with its own laws and customs. We are told of all applications for enclosure or development on commons and we check each one and respond.
Our network of local correspondents keeps an eye on local paths, pressing for the removal of obstructions and commenting on all applications for path changes.
The Open Spaces Society will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015 – help us reach our target of 150 new members to mark 150 years of campaigning by joining today.