Last week I spent some time writing a letter for publication in The Guardian in relation to the online article about the battle for Freeman’s Wood, near Lancaster. Here the campaigners are pursuing village-green registration as a means of securing their rights to the land.
My letter pointed out that this is a good thing to do, but that in England the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 (a developer’s charter) has made such registration impossible when land is threatened with development. Luckily the Freeman’s Wood campaigners got their application in ahead of the act. I concluded by saying that the Open Spaces Society urges communities to identify now any land which is eligible for registration as a green because once land is earmarked for development it is too late.
I had assumed, when I saw the online article, that it would appear in the newspaper that day or the following one. In fact it never did—so of course The Guardian would not publish a letter in the paper about an article which wasn’t printed there.
I have written to The Guardian‘s readers’ editor, asking that they put a note at the end of any articles which are published online only to make it clear that are not in the paper, so that readers do not waste time composing letters which have no hope of publication. I know I can make an online comment but that is a poor substitute.