Thursday, 13 May 2010

Open Spaces Press Release




The Open Spaces Society,(1) Britain’s oldest national conservation body, has deplored plans by Thanet District Council to sell off open spaces, which will be discussed at an extraordinary cabinet meeting next Thursday (20 May). The cabinet will hear from members of the public on its ‘potential asset disposal sites’ and will take a decision on the sell-off at a later date.

Says Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the society: ‘There are plans to flog off at least two open spaces which are of immense importance to communities. These are Chine (Western Undercliff) and the Eastern Undercliff car-park at Ramsgate.

‘These open spaces provide recreation and enjoyment for local people and visitors. Thanet is depressingly poor in green spaces. According to Thanet District Council’s 2006 plan, Thanet has less than half the acreage of green space per head of population recommended by the then English Nature. This sell off would make matters much worse.

‘Selling green space is a false economy. Rob people of their playgrounds and they are much the poorer. Green spaces help to keep people healthy: it’s far better to spend on prevention than cure.

‘We deplore Thanet’s decision in 2008 to dispose of land on Westbrook Promenade, and we are delighted that local campaigners, Westbrook Against Selling Promenade Site (WASPS), are claiming village green(2) status for the land, to secure their rights of recreation there and to ensure it is safe for the community to enjoy.'

‘We urge Thanet councillors to resolve not to sell off any more green spaces in the district, but instead to manage and care for them in the public interest,’ Kate concludes.


Notes for editors

1.The Open Spaces Society (formally the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation 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. Anyone may apply for registration. Once registered, the land is protected from encroachment and development by section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857 and section 29 of the Commons Act 1876. Local people have a right to enjoy the land for recreation. WASPS’ website is


CONTACTS: Kate Ashbrook 01491 573535 (work)
07771 655694 (mob)
Kate Ashbrook
General Secretary
The Open Spaces Society
25A Bell Street
Henley-on-Thames RG9 2BA
tel 01491 573535
registered charity 214753
Sign up for the Commons and Greens Seminar on 1 July

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