When the commons and village greens registers opened 50 years ago today, on 2 January 1967, the Open Spaces Society, Ramblers and other groups worked tirelessly to record every piece of land in England and Wales which might be eligible as a common or green.
The registration period was a miserable three years, after which it was too late, and so it was vital to give every possible bit of land a chance. The registers also recorded common rights and ownership of commons and greens.
The Open Spaces Society provided a great deal of guidance to the complex forms, as well as its own forms for people to gather evidence of common or green status. The voluntary bodies sought publicity for the task, anxious that local communities should get involved in registration.
The Archers on BBC radio 4 likes to publicise things that affect countryfolk. However, despite the Open Spaces Society’s best efforts, the Archers resolutely refused to register Ambridge village green, or any common within its parish.
Although it is now too late to register common land (Borsetshire is not one of the government’s nine pioneer areas for registration of lost commons under the Commons Act 2006), it is not too late to register Ambridge’s village green—nor even Lakey Hill.
Linda Snell could gather evidence of 20 years’ use by local people for informal recreation, without being stopped or asking permission. Or, more simply, the owner (I’m not sure who this is) could make a voluntary registration under section 15(8) of the Commons Act 2006. They can ask the Open Spaces Society for help.
Then these areas will be protected for ever, even from the grasping jaws of Borchester Land, and local people will have rights of recreation there.
Come on Archers, catch up with the times.
Is this in need of an OSS petition on 38Degrees or Change? Only, of course, if you think we can make it trend …
A nice idea but probably not worth the effort. I have written to them about it in the past, maybe I’ll do so again.