Friday, 12 August 2022

‘Protection measures inadequate’

THE Open Spaces Society says measures designed to preserve green spaces are inadequate.

It says the “local green space” status introduced by the Government in 2013 is too vague to offer adequate protection from development and has made it harder to register land as town or village greens, as Henley Town Council did with Gillotts Corner Field, off Greys Road, in 2009.

Town or village greens must remain untouched for the public benefit in perpetuity.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the society, said: “The criteria are so vague and restrictive that it is difficult to meet them. For instance, land must be ‘demonstrably special’ and of ‘particular local significance’ but it is just those ordinary, scruffy spaces, dear to so many, that have no protection yet desperately need it.”

The society has also backed a recommendation by a House of Lords select committee to allocate more money towards maintaining public paths across England.

The committee said the Government should issue more funds to Natural England and allow it to operate more independently.

Ms Ashbrook said: “We hope the Government will act on this recommendation.”

The Open Spaces Society, which is based in Bell Street, Henley, is Britain’s oldest national conservation body and campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths and people’s right to enjoy them.

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