The Open Spaces Society objects most strongly to proposals (Guildford Borough Council Draft Local Plan: strategy and sites 2014) to create a car park on Effingham Common
“A car park is an inappropriate use of registered common land, which was acquired by your council to prevent further encroachment onto the green belt and to protect the local rural environment. Here the public has the right to walk (and perhaps to ride, we have not had the opportunity to check because of the short notice and the need to meet the deadline). It is an area rich in biodiversity. A car park will spoil and suburbanise this lovely open space. Moreover the land is subject to rights of common which would be interfered with.
This is a registered common and any works here require the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Please confirm that you are aware of this and, if you wish to proceed despite the many objections, that you will seek the necessary consent.
We are dismayed that you have not had the courtesy to consult the society about a proposal affecting common land. We are notified by statute of all applications for works on commons and therefore would have appreciated being consulted and involved in these plans. We only found out about it by chance shortly before the deadline and have not even been supplied with a plan which is very poor on your part.”
Common land (a common) is land owned collectively by a number of persons, or by one person, but over which other people have certain traditional rights, such as to allow their livestock to graze upon it, to collect firewood, or to cut turf for fuel.
There is no distinction between wooded areas and open areas of a common