Pinner Green is a small piece of common land, the apex of a triangle between Blackwell Hall Lane on the east, and Green Lane on the west, near Latimer in Bucks. The common could easily be overlooked but, since the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 gave us the right to walk on all commons, this lovely wooded spot has increased in public value and should be accessible to all.
So it is irksome in the extreme that a local landowner has erected a fence on the eastern side of the common, alongside Blackwell Hall Lane, preventing people from walking from the lane onto the common, and vice versa.
There is access from Green Lane (which has, strangely, been stopped up to vehicles) but that requires people to go to the northern end of the common.
The fencing is clearly unlawful. Section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 states that a person must not, without the consent of the appropriate national authority (ie the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), carry out any restricted works on a common. Restricted works are those which prevent or impede access to or over the land, and of course they include fencing. Any person can apply to the court for an order to remove the fencing, but one would hope that Buckinghamshire County Council, as access authority, would take the lead. Certainly the local access forum, which advises the council on access issues, agreed at its meeting on 19 March ‘that it wanted the barbed wire and fence posts to be removed’.
If this landowner gets away with it, others will try it on. There are many little gems of common land in the area and word will get round. Our commons are precious. Pinner Green should be reopened. We look to Bucks County Council to restore it to the public.