Open Spaces Society delighted at change of venue for Haslemere common car-park inquiry

Subject : News release: Open Spaces Society delighted at change of venue for Haslemere common car-park inquiry

OPEN SPACES SOCIETY

NEWS RELEASE

OPEN SPACES SOCIETY DELIGHTED AT CHANGE OF VENUE FOR HASLEMERE COMMON CAR-PARK INQUIRY

The Open Spaces Society(1) is delighted that the Planning Inspectorate has agreed to hold the public inquiry into the Wey Hill Fairground Common development at a Haslemere school.

The inquiry, under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006, is to determine Waverley Borough Council’s contentious application to refurbish Wey Hill Fairground Common as a permanent car-park.  Because the works are on common land they require the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment.(2) The inquiry was originally to be held on 8 April in Godalming.  Following protests from the Open Spaces Society and others, and research by local people into alternative venues, the Planning Inspectorate has shifted the event to The Royal School, Farnham Lane, Haslemere starting on 8 April.

Says Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society: ‘It is important that local people should be able to attend the inquiry to give their views about their common, without having to travel far.  This venue is much more convenient for everyone, and Haslemere Town Council is running a shuttle bus between Haslemere Station, the Wey Hill Fairground car-park bus-stop and Haslemere station for the three days of the inquiry.

‘The Open Spaces Society is objecting to the application for works on common land because we consider it is an inappropriate use of the common. There is a public right to walk over all commons, which are special and ancient places.  Commons should not be used as permanent car-parks. Haslemere’s famous resident, the common-land campaigner Sir Robert Hunter, would have been dismayed at what is proposed at Wey Hill.

‘We believe that Waverley Borough Council should instead apply to deregister the common occupied by the car-park so that it ceases to be a common, and offer suitable land in exchange, in accordance with the Planning Inspectorate’s advice.

‘We hope the inquiry inspector rejects the current application so that a solution can be found which secures open space for public enjoyment and is acceptable to all,’ says Kate.

ENDS

Notes for editors

1        The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body.  It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and people’s right to enjoy them, throughout England and Wales. www.oss.org.uk

2.         Common is land subject to rights of common, to graze animals or collect wood for instance, or waste land of the manor not subject to rights.  The public has the right to walk on all commons, and to ride on many of them.  If someone wants to put a work on a common they must obtain the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment.

CONTACT:          Kate Ashbrook    01491 573535 (work)

07771 655694 (mobile)

Kate Ashbrook

General Secretary

The Open Spaces Society

25a Bell Street

Henley-on-Thames RG9 2BA

email: hq@oss.org.uk

website www.oss.org.uk

The Open Spaces Society is a registered charity (no 1144840) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales (no 7846516).