THE Open Spaces Society, the pressure group for the protection of green spaces, is urging local council clerks to be more active in rescuing such land.

The society’s Nicola Hodgson addressed the Society of Local Council Clerks’ national conference and spoke on the threats to village greens, commons and open spaces, and what local councils can do to protect them.

She said: “Open spaces are under threat of development and the government has relaxed the laws intended to protect them.”

She presented a four-point plan:

  • Register land which belongs to the council as a town or village green to protect it from developers;
  • Help local people to identify and register land as a town or village green based on 20 years’ use for recreation. It is vital to do this before the land is threatened with development, or the landowner can challenge people’s use of it;
  • Organise surveys of the local commons, or annual beating the bounds events, and check if there are any unlawful encroachments;
  • If there is a neighbourhood plan in prospect, ensure that people identify land they wish to protect as ‘Local Green Space’ so that it can be designated and secured.