The Open Spaces Society,(1) has called on Mrs Dilys Lowe, the owner of land at Glandwr Cottage, Glanrafon, Llangoed in Anglesey, to stop building a bungalow on registered common land.(2)
Mrs Lowe has planning permission for the bungalow but has been told by Anglesey County Council and others that the work is unlawful unless she obtains the consent from the Welsh Minister for works on common land under the Commons Act 2006.(3)
Mrs Lowe is apparently ignoring the advice and has sent in the diggers to start laying foundations for her new house.
The Open Spaces Society, which campaigns for commons throughout England and Wales, has today written to Mrs Lowe calling on her to halt the work forthwith.
Says Kate Ashbrook, the society’s general secretary: ‘Common land is an immensely important part of our history and culture, as well as being land where the public has the right to walk. It rightly has special laws protecting it, but Mrs Lowe is apparently flouting them.
‘She has been informed of the law numerous times. We have told Mrs Lowe that unless she stops the work at once and reinstates the common, we shall consider applying to the county court for an order to reinstate the common.
‘If she wishes to build her bungalow on the common she needs to offer land in exchange which can be registered as common and then apply to Welsh Ministers for consent for the land swap.’
Kate continues: ‘We are deeply disappointed at the limp attitude of Anglesey County Council, the commons registration authority. It has powers to take action to defend the common but is not prepared to use them, leaving it to the public to pick up the pieces. We shall continue to urge the council to step up to the mark and defend this precious common land.’
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 www.oss.org.uk. This year it celebrates its 150th anniversary (#saveopenspaces150).
2 Common land exists throughout England and Wales. It is land subject to rights of common, to graze animals or collect wood for instance, or waste land of the manor not subject to rights. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 gives the public the right to walk on all commons where there was not already such a right.
3 Commons are protected from development because any works on commons require the consent of Welsh Ministers (via the Planning Inspectorate), under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006. If works do not have consent they are unlawful and it is open to any local authority, person with a legal interest in the land, or the public, to seek an order in the county court for removal of the works, under section 41 of the Commons Act 2006.