Fencing plans killed by Council
Reporter: Jane Meredith Reporter
CONTROVERSIAL proposals to fence off Padworth Common have been shelved – for the time being at least.
A public inquiry into proposals by West Berkshire Council to fence off part of the common, in order to implement conservation grazing was due to resume last week but the council has confirmed that it has now withdrawn the proposals.
Last year’s public inquiry folded, after a Government planning inspector discovered amended documents, submitted to the inquiry by WBC, had not formed part of a public consultation on the issue.
The public enquiry was scheduled to resume last week, but did not take place.
A council statement said: “There may be an intention to submit an application at a later date, but at the present time no decision has been made. There is ongoing consultation with the council’s legal department to this end.”
Dr Janice Bridger, the British Horse Society’s West Berkshire Access and Bridleway Officer, said the BHS was very pleased to hear that WBC had withdrawn the application, after strong opposition by local residents and the BHS, pointing out that horse riders had ridden on the common, she said for as long as anyone could remember, and criticised the public inquiry as a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Padworth Common resident, David Fincham, owner of The Croft Equestrian Centre, was pleased the application had been dropped by WBC, particularly he said: “After the very poor preparation by them made at last year’s public inquiry.” He thanked the BHS and campaigners for their hard work on the issue.
Padworth Common resident, Claire Buchanan said: “Finally, if they (WBC) have truly given this one up after four failed attempts and vast sums of taxpayers’ money, then common sense has prevailed. Thanks to the efforts of the British Horse Society and all the riders and dog walkers that worked hard together to reject this scheme – it seems we have one small victory in preserving our commons as they were designed to be.”
According to Dr Bridger however, WBC plans to install temporary fencing on the common. “Riders will need to be vigilant that this does not force them onto the busy roads in the area,” she said.
The BHS has also warned horse riders in the Crookham Common area to be vigilant, in respect of a current consultation by WBC on plans to fence and gate Crookham Common.
Says Adeliza Cooper, who launched the campaign against fences
We all hope that other local commons remain free to be used properly by all users.
Says Adeliza Cooper
Yes lovely news, such a huge relief . I am so very grateful to everyone who helped us and went to so much effort, giving time advice and contributions to our efforts! but at the same time very sad that an organisation we fund should seem so unable to listen carefully to its users .
Padworth Common is safe we all hope that other local commons remain free to be used properly by all users.
The story of the fight to stop fencing Padworth Common
as reported by www.horseytalk.net :