Group wins fight to reclaim Cornish heathland for common use
Campaigners have claimed victory after winning their legal battle to reclaim swathes of open heather moorland in Cornwall as common land.
Carn Galva Common, west of Zennor in North Cornwall, has been reclaimed using laws being pioneered in the county.
When Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006 came into force, members of the Open Spaces Society began working to reclaim Carn Galva Common for people to enjoy wandering about on.
Following a public inquiry last month, planning inspector Helen Slade ruled the land should be recorded on the commons register.
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Carn Galva Common covers approximately 70 hectares and is owned by the National Trust. It was recorded as access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, giving the public the right to walk over it.
The applicant, Ian McNeil Cooke on behalf of Save Penwith Moors, argued the land was part of a manor that was still open, uncultivated and unoccupied.
Therefore it complied with the criteria to enable it to be registered as common land, he argued.
National Trust bosses supported the application, along with the Open Spaces Society and British Horse Society.
There were three objectors, but none of them appeared at the inquiry. Objections related to the management of the land for grazing and were held not to be relevant at the inquiry.
David Coles of Save Penwith Moors, which campaigns to keep commons open and free, said he was pleased the public could now enjoy the moorland.
He said: "We are delighted the land has been returned to the commons register, from which it was wrongly omitted 40 years ago.
"This will ensure that the public's rights to use and enjoy it are safeguarded for all time, and that the land has additional protection from development, since any works here will need the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, in addition to any planning permission."
Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, urged other groups in Cornwall to follow Mr Coles's example.
She said: "We urge everyone with an interest in common land to follow the excellent example of Save Penwith Moors.
"They should research whether there is land in Cornwall and the other pioneer areas which was wrongly omitted from registration 40 years ago, and which is eligible for registration now. The Open Spaces Society can help with the process."