Saturday, September 03, 2011

Threat to common land near Market Harborough

Thanks to the reader who alerted me to the fact that the Open Spaces Society has objected to a proposed development that would encroach on common land at Great Bowden, just north of Market Harborough.

The proposed development would see houses built on land at Fernie Hunt Stables, Nether Green, Great Bowden. One of the proposed gardens would be on registered common land, yet the Society says that the developers fail even to mention this in their application.

Kate Ashbrook, the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, says:
"We have objected most strongly to this development, in support of our member Great Bowden Parish Council. We are dismayed that the developers propose to destroy an area of registered common. Their development will be unlawful unless they obtain the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for works on common land. 
"It is deplorable that the developers fail even to mention the common in their application. They seem not to realise that common land has its own laws and is a special and ancient land type. It is relatively rare in Leicestershire, where many commons were stolen from the people during the inclosure movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 
"The development will also interfere with the public’s right to walk over this common. "It appears that the planning authority, Harborough District Council, has not warned the developers of the requirement to obtain special ministerial consent for works on common land. This is despite the fact that the Open Spaces Society wrote to all planning authorities a few years ago to point out that, if a development threatens common land, they must warn the applicants that their works may be unlawful. 
"We have written both to Harborough District Council and to the developers, explaining the law relating to common land. We have urged the council to reject the application to ensure this valuable piece of common is safeguarded."


Wartime Housewife said...

Where is the common land, Jonathan? I thought it was all Fernie Bloody Hunt.

Jonathan Calder said...

It must be part of Nether Green itself, but I am looking into this story.