18 March 2010

News From Bizarro World

The Campaign received news in its in-box today representing further proof that the modern fake village greens industry belongs in some kind of surreal parallel universe.  Perhaps Alice in Wonderland or Through The Looking Glass.

The news concerned a new insurance product.  Insurance against your property being an English village green!

The wider fraternity of lawyers is catching on to the the reality of these bogus 'greens'.  Here is an extract - entirely accurate in its analysis - from the introductory leaflet for this new product from the First Title insurance company:
"It is anticipated that in the coming years more and more village green applications will be made with the sole purpose of blocking unwanted developments. Many of these will have no basis in law or fact and will be purely speculative applications, however, even a spurious application will be expensive and time consuming to deal with."
Everybody knows what the real, genuine English village green looks like.  Accordingly, we wish that this was an early April Fool's day article.  Sadly, it isn't.

For further information on this product email comm.team@firsttitle.eu or kmills@firsttitle.eu quoting 'insurance against village green claims'.

17 March 2010

The Sewage Works Village Green

A large fuss has been caused by the exposure of one fake village green in particular.

The big concrete and brick structure in question has been described as a sewage works: to be totally factually correct it's recorded on the deeds as an effluent works and effluent settlement beds.  However, it is still not a village green, whatever it's called.

The whole story is told in the forthcoming book The Village Green Preservation Society.  It's both shocking and occasionally hilarious.

In the meantime, here is the sewage /effluent settlement works on the day of the BBC You and Yours visit to New Mills, High Peak, Derbyshire, England:


Local horse and pony riders in particular will miss this land once it is registered as a so-called town/village green: taking an animal onto the property will be prohibited once registration takes place.  The maximum fine for each offence after registration is level 1 on the standard scale.

Should dog walkers attempt to access the land after the registration and consequent animals prohibition takes place, they will then find either that they are subject to the relevant court proceedings and fines or that other, larger local dogs are territorial.  This is entirely in accordance with nature (the interactions between dogs on the same property we mean, not proceedings of a local court).

For very many years the above animal lovers of the locality or neighbourhood within the locality have had permission from the owner to go onto the land.  This also applies to other local people where lawful sports and pastimes are concerned.  However, the property has become subject to three town or village green applications.

An honest and co-operative approach, with the majority of local people working in harmony with the landowner, to create a permanent large local nature reserve, is the obvious, reasonable and proper way forward in this case.

This common-sense and harmonious way of doing these things often seems to be deplored by some at the so-called Open Spaces Society and their fellow travellers.

10 March 2010

She Can See For Miles

How many miles?  Well, according to her interview broadcast on today's You and Yours on BBC Radio 4, Kate Ashbrook seems to be able to see for more than 130 miles.  This perhaps indicates hitherto unsuspected super powers.  It's certainly better than Specsavers.

Ms Ashbrook is based in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire and is the General Secretary of the so-called Open Spaces Society.  The property she was talking about is in New Mills, Derbyshire.  She said in the interview that the sewage works in the centre of the land in New Mills "hasn't been used for 70 years or so".  She's badly wrong on that score.

The distance between Henley and New Mills is about 186 miles by road, and 136 miles as the crow flies.

Let's move on to another part of the same town.  Also in New Mills, the Open Spaces Society was giving comprehensive assistance to local people - one of whom was a member of the OSS - to register the real town green.  This is a different piece of land, located next to the town hall and library.

The outcome is very revealing about the politics and corruption of the so-called Open Spaces Society.

New Mills town council wanted to do a profitable land deal to build a courthouse on this open green space.  A phone call to General Secretary Ashbrook  from local New Mills politician and town councillor Sir Martin Doughty was made.  He was a personal friend, and in his capacity as boss of the Natural England quango was also a holder of purse strings at a national level for 'environmental' groups.

Developing the courthouse on this green open space was Sir Martin Doughty's personal pet scheme.  His personal call resulted in the Open Spaces Society immediately withdrawing its help in registering the real town green.

The letter* written by the Open Spaces Society's to its local member, following the personal intervention of General Secretary Ashbrook to help her developer friend Sir Martin Doughty:
"I have recently discovered that you are working against the town council who have been members of the society since 1974.  In the circumstances I regret that I will be unable to assist you further."

* A copy of this disgraceful correspondence is available upon request by email.

8 March 2010

Dog Fouling and Excrement, 1: New Swimming Pool and Community's £95m Regeneration, 0

The newly constituted Supreme Court has lost no time in messing things up and handing out the sort of socially damaging opinion that sometimes made the House of Lords notorious.

Coatham near Redcar is the latest victim of nimbyism's modern infatuation with abusing the traditional English village green.

The Open Spaces Society ("We're not anti development, honest we're not"), based in Henley on Thames, was more than usually triumphalist when the surprising Supreme Court opinion was published in the case of Regina (Lewis) v Coatham and Redcar Borough Council and Another.

Less publicised were the opinions of local people who now actually have to live with the depressing consequences.  Here are comments taken verbatim from local news outlets on the web:
"Many thanks for the Friends of Coatham Common, many of whom do not live nearby, for saving a large dog toilet, the youth of redcar will be really pleased they have no leisure facilities."

"Redcar is a DUMP and somepeople seem desperate to keep it that way. The steel works close, people will have to leave the area, and the residents fight against better facilities for themselves!"

"It cant just stay as a dogs toilet. If they just have it as a common then no. It needs to improve the town and not be left as a piece of waste land."

And finally, from local Lord of the Nimbys Jimmy Willis.  The loudest agitators are, as usual, not from the place in question.  More keen on selfishly saving 'the view' from his own privately-owned house than on the needs of other people:
"We moved to Redcar four years ago... We had always visited Redcar when I was home on leave. We got a property with a beautiful sea view and open space out our back gate on High Street West, then we found out Persimmon and the council were going to take away one of the reasons we bought it."