Merton Green Action Group





The Open Spaces Society,(1) the national pressure-group for green spaces, has deplored Barratt Homes’ action last week to bulldoze The Ditches, a much-loved children’s play area, at Merton Green in Caerwent (see attached photographs). The Merton Green Action Group(2) has applied to register the open space as a village green.(3)

Monmouthshire County Council, the greens registration authority, will consider the application next week and there is likely to be a public inquiry. If the land is registered as a green any development there would be unlawful.

Local people have enjoyed many recreational activities on the land over a long period—walking, kite flying, playing cricket and picking fruit. Children rode bikes and played in the wooded part knows as The Ditches—until Barratt destroyed it. The Merton Green Action Group understands that Barratt intends to start developing the site on Monday (15 March).

Says Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society which has helped the Merton Green Action Group with its campaign: ‘We are dismayed at Barratt’s moves to destroy this lovely site, before the application for a green has been determined.

‘If the land is proved to be a green, Barratt Homes should be required to restore it to its former state—although it will not be easy. The rights of local people to enjoy the land for informal recreation would be confirmed, and any interference with those rights could be unlawful.

‘We wish the group every success in its effort to register this area,’ says Kate.


Notes for editors

1. The Open Spaces Society (formally the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society) was founded in 1865 and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and people’s right to enjoy them.

2. Merton Green Action Group has a website

3. Land can be registered as a town or village green if it has been used by local people for ‘lawful sports and pastimes’ (ie informal recreation) for 20 years, freely and openly. Anyone may apply for registration. The registration authority is the unitary council. If there are objections to the registration, the council may hold a public inquiry to determine the case.

Once registered, the land is protected from encroachment and development by section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857 and section 29 of the Commons Act 1876. Local people have a right to enjoy the land for recreation.


CONTACTS: Anne-Marie Spooner, Merton Green Action Group 01291 423687 (home)

Kate Ashbrook 01491 573535 (work) The Open Spaces Society

25A Bell Street

Henley-on-Thames RG9 2BA

tel 01491 573535



07771 655694 (mob)

Kate Ashbrook

General Secretary

The Open Spaces Society

25A Bell Street

Henley-on-Thames RG9 2BA

tel 01491 573535