It has been suggested that I start a thread about The Open Spaces Society. I have known of its existence for many years, from the days when my late father was instrumental in saving Vansittart Road Recreation Ground from substantial redevelopment back in 1989.
Gordon Cullingham, C.Eng., ARICS., MIMunE., MRTPI,
the last Borough Engineer of The Royal Borough of Windsor
The matter served to illustrate why Windsorians should control their local affairs because this redevelopment plan was aggressively promoted by council leader Cllr. Eva from far off Cookham!
The plan was successfully scuppered but it took quite a while, and a heart attack for my father, before his arguments were accepted at a Planning Inquiry.
Throughout the entire campaign to reject the plans my father was in touch with The Open Spaces Society as he explored every single possible option to foil the RBWM plans, including having the recreation ground declared a Town Green. In this respect the area did not quite tick all the boxes, but the loss of Public Open Space in this part of Windsor was deemed a sufficiently effective argument. What is more, two previous attempts to develop the area by Messrs Varney had been similarly rejected in 1947 and 1952. The burghers in Maidenhead either did not know, or had conveniently forgotten, this particular aspect of the story!
These days, when land is even more at a premium, the existence of The Open Spaces Society to protect and preserve these important recreation areas cannot be underestimated.
By way of illustration, this week the society reported some unacceptable and damaging work by Merton council which adversely affected a Town Green in their area. Because the works were illegal, the possibility exists of prosecution in the criminal courts. The matter is THAT serious!