Update on behalf of FODLWOS (Friends of Dorchester & Little Wittenham Open Spaces)

It’s been over a month since the meeting was held in response to Oxfordshire County Council’s request for comments on the definitive map and statement submitted by the new landowner. It came as no surprise that the meeting was so well attended with an estimated two-hundred people packing into the village hall. Of those two-hundred roughly eighty per cent were Dorchester residents accompanied by a strong representation from Little Wittenham and surrounding parishes. We would like to express our gratitude to all those who came along and participated, and apologies to those of you who were only able to find standing room.

The main objectives of the evening were to firstly inform people of the process of village green registration as a proposed course of action for preserving our open access, and, secondly, to distribute and collect completed evidence questionnaires from those attending the meeting. Last week over four hundred completed questionnaires in support of registering both ‘The Dyke Hills’ and ‘Days Lock Meadow’ as village greens were lodged with Oxfordshire County Council. This represents the first of several steps in the legal process for which more information can be found on The Open Spaces Society website at:

http://www.oss.org.uk

If you haven’t yet filled out an evidence questionnaire it’s not too late. Copies of the form can be downloaded from the village website at:

https://www.dorchester-on-thames.co.uk

or, if you prefer paper copies, please send an email to rightsofwaydot@gmail.com and this can be arranged.

It was reassuring to have collected so many questionnaires in such a short space of time, and this clearly indicates the disfavour felt by so many in our local communities towards the restrictions imposed on the open access that has been enjoyed for generations. The evidence that has been collected and collated also serves as a poignant archive for the rich social history of both Dorchester and it’s neighbouring villages, with written and photographic evidence dating back to well beyond the required twenty-year period. A small selection of these photos, along with updates and information, can be found on the FODLWOS Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/FODLWOS

Another area of concern for many is the changes to the public footpaths. A huge number of people have expressed concern at the safety implications brought about by the new proximity to both the Thames and Thame, and Dorchester Parish Council continue to make this their priority focus. A second meeting is currently being planned for March to focus more specifically on rights of way and footpaths, so please keep an eye out for more information regarding this – it would be fantastic if this could be as well supported as the meeting in January. Until then, a huge thank you goes to Kate Ashbrook and her team at the Open Spaces Society and to all those of you that have shown support.

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Posted on February 26, 2017 in Rights of Way

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