On Wednesday I was at Hazlemere, Bucks, to present the plaque to the Grange Area Trust, winners of this year’s Open Spaces Society Open Space Award. The trust has saved the 16-hectares Widmer Fields from development by raising the money to buy the land. Now it manages it for nature and walkers.
On Thursday I was at Haslemere, Surrey, for the lecture by National Trust director general, Helen Ghosh, to celebrate the life of Sir Robert Hunter, who died 100 years ago. Hunter lived for many years in Haslemere and was instrumental in saving the nearby commons for people to enjoy.
Hunter would have been appalled by the attitude of Waverley Borough Council, which has recently applied, retrospectively, for the Secretary of State’s consent for an unlawful car- park on common land at Wey Hill Fairground on the west side of town. This should of course be a green space. The council isn’t even offering land in exchange for the common which is covered by the car park. We hope the consent is refused and the council is then forced to reinstate the common.
However, Hunter would have been delighted with the work of the Grange Area Trust at the other Hazlemere, because he believed in buying land in order to save it. Indeed, that is why he founded the National Trust.