I was really pleased to get an invitation to talk about Open Spaces Society at the Westward Community Centre, thanks to Councillor Charles Smith.
I first met Charles as the chair of Save Morfa Beach and he held together a formidable range of users of the beach who saved the footpath access along a track through land owned by Tata Steel in Neath Port Talbot.
The Western Bridgend Communities Group was involved in another successful campaign: to save their green spaces from predatory development by the housing association Valleys 2 Coast (V2C). The planning applications were on land given in 2003 by the council to V2C along with the estate: the green spaces have been used as town or village greens ever since the estates were built.
Of course, in a decent world, these greens would be dedicated as town and village greens by V2C. It was a terrible error for the councils to have failed to get them registered. The well-designed estates of Cefn Cribwr and Cefn Glas campaigned, with Open Spaces Society in support, and gained refusal of the proposed developments earlier this year. The application for Lower Llansantffraid, Sarn (below) was withdrawn.
I had a very enjoyable time talking about Open Spaces Society and what we do, using local examples. Western Bridgend Communities Group are OSS members, and set a high standard for looking after their green spaces.
The Future Generations Act may provide the policy framework in Wales for councils to claw back some protection of these greens within local development plans and planning guidance.