Sunday, 11 April 2010

Open Spaces Society pledge

I support the Open Spaces Society pledge. The Open Spaces Society is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. They campaign to create and conserve common land, village greens, public paths and open spaces, throughout England and Wales.

They advise on and assist in the protection and enhancement of paths and open spaces. They are by law consulted on all applications for works on, or exchanges of, common land, and for the alteration of public paths.

Paths and open spaces are vital to us all. They provide opportunities for quiet recreation close to home and further afield, they promote health and wellbeing and, by their use, may generate income for the local economy.

· a right of appeal, and a requirement to provide suitable alternative land, before public open space is taken for another purpose,

· law change to give county and unitary authorities a duty to take action against unlawful works on common land,

· legislation throughout England and Wales to enable people to reclaim ‘lost’ commons for the common-land registers,

· a timetable for processing town and village green applications, so that legitimate applications are swiftly resolved (and mischievous ones swiftly rejected),

· requirement to include on planning-application forms questions about the existence of public rights of way, common land and town or village green within or adjacent to a proposed development,

· law change to require an independent review to protect users’ rights when there is an opposed order to gate an alleyway, and to prohibit the use of permanent gating orders,

· repeal of the provision for seeking changes to footpaths and bridleways in the magistrates’ court, as this is intimidating and costly to members of the public,

· swift implementation of the new English coastal route and associated access land (the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009),

· greater use of agricultural subsidies to secure new rights of public access, and ensure existing public paths are not obstructed,

· all public paths in England and Wales recorded, open and easy to use, with a formal definitive list of all public highways, from roads to footpaths.

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