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Lack of protection for green spaces

July 16, 2013








‘It is deplorable that, 16 months after the government published its plans for protecting England’s green spaces through a new Local Green Space Designation, very few such designations have been made.’

 So declared Paul Clayden, vice-president of the Open Spaces Society,(1) at the society’s annual general meeting in Birmingham on Tuesday (16 July).

 ‘In March 2012 the government published its National Planning Policy Framework, announcing the new Local Green Space (LGS).  Communities, through local or neighbourhood plans, can submit applications for sites to have special protection as LGS, but it is unclear what is the exact process for their designation—and there is so far no guidance,’ he continued. 

 ‘Some councils are consulting the public to identify sites for designation.  We commend Bath & North East Somerset, Central Bedfordshire and Leicestershire County Councils for instance.

 ‘In addition, under the Localism Act 2011, planning authorities are required to publish lists of assets of community value.  We question how many have actually done so.

 ‘At the same time, through the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013, government has made it much more difficult to register land as a green to protect it from development.(2)  Where land in England is threatened, it is no longer possible to apply to register it as a green.

 ‘Government pays lip-service to open space protection but does not provide the tools for the job.

 ‘The society is conscious of the divergence in laws in England and Wales, as Wales introduces its own legislation.  We intend to play an active part in the development of Welsh legislation to ensure that commons, greens, open spaces and public paths are protected and promoted.

 ‘Meanwhile, we call on our members and others to:

 identify any land in their communities which is eligible for registration as a village green, and to apply for registration before it is threatened with development,


  • identify land which might be protected as Local Green Space or an asset of community value,


  • tell us what they would like to see in Welsh legislation for commons, greens, open spaces, paths and public access and enjoyment.’


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.

 2.         Land can be registered as a town or village green if it has been used by local people for ‘lawful sports and pastimes’ (ie informal recreation) for 20 years freely and openly.  Once registered the land is protected from development by nineteenth-century legislation.


CONTACT:    Kate Ashbrook

                    Nicola Hodgson


Kate Ashbrook

General Secretary

The Open Spaces Society

25a Bell Street

Henley-on-Thames RG9 2B



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



2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2013 1:00 pm

    Hello John, thanks for visiting my site and liking my poem: Around the Village Green. I was looking for your blog to read the other day. Couldn’t find you. However, how serendipitous that I find you writing about village greens as I am publishing a poem about one! Writing this poem reminded me of the community that existed in my early childhood, around this village green. Village greens are diminishing. As they do, so do the communities they support. It is the green that supports the community, not the other way round! Speech over. Ann

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