Win, win, win

This week the Open Spaces Society had three wins.

First the society helped to save two footpaths across Harrow School grounds.  In 2003 the school built tennis courts and all-weather courts across footpath 57, with the connivance of Harrow Council.  The other path, 58, runs in a direct route across sports pitches.

20 Obstructions on FP57 looking to A - Copy

Footpath 57 obstructed by tennis courts

Eventually, despite our efforts to make the school reopen the path, the council made diversion orders, moving footpath 57 around the obstructions and footpath 58 in a zigzag around the sports pitches.  Both were indirect routes.  The Open Spaces Society, Ramblers and local people objected and there was a six-day public inquiry in January and February at which the school was represented by a QC and junior and the council by a barrister.

Loss of views
The inspector, Alison Lea, ruled that the routes should not be diverted, largely because of the loss of views of Harrow-on-the-Hill.  She was particularly impressed by Gareth Thomas, MP for Harrow West, who spoke of the ‘spectacular’ views he enjoyed on his runs along the paths.

FP58 direct route

The view from footpath 58

Second, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs accepted the Open Spaces Society’s argument that environmental impact assessment (EIA) must be applied to common land, in addition to the need to get consent for works on common land under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006.  This means, for instance, that if someone wants to erect more than two kilometres of fencing on common land in a national park, he or she must have the proposal screened by Natural England to see if it needs a full EIA. Before this, Defra claimed that consent for works on common land was sufficient.  This is important extra protection for commons and Hugh Craddock, the OSS case officer, gets the credit for this.

And third, the society helped to stop seven wind turbines near Llandegley Rocks in Powys. The proposal would have involved four turbines on land which was protected by an inclosure award, as well as the exchange of common land and the destruction of a much-loved beauty spot.


Llandegley Rocks, beauty spot saved from turbines

About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
This entry was posted in Access, campaigns, commons, Obstructed path, Open Spaces Society, Public paths, Ramblers and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Win, win, win

  1. Richard Hall says:

    Sunningwell, Oxfordshire on Vimeo

    Professor, Hugh Torrens, expands on this little known story. A canal, intrigue, a chance of coal and an inadequate knowledge of geology led to this failed attempt…

    Dear Arthur

    I have been made aware that there has been plans to divert footpath 8 that runs through the Sunningwell Quarry .I would like to object to any plan to divert this footpath in anyway other than the plan which was passed in 2015. This plan would give the public the pleasure of walking through a historic coral rag quarry and seeing its quarry face, this stone was used to build St Leonards church in Sunningwell also All Souls college in Oxford in around 1438.

    The footpath as it is also passes a flowing well waterfall which was featured on the pub sign in the 1960`s also being a source of the river Stert which runs under the road in Abingdon to the Thames.

    This historic footpath had been used for many years but blocked and denied by the present owner and the finger post has gone missing also the stone steps away from the Quarry are no longer there

    The approved Plans show and go into great detail of how it would be better for all and give security and privacy to the land owner.

    I am hoping Arthur you can give me some update on what has been happening about this footpath and any plans that have been put before you

    Very Kind Regards


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