New common land would provide much needed public open space (photo Matthew Roberts)

Commons for the future?


Thursday 08 July, 2021


Norfolk Wildlife Trust has this week published a study which considers the strengths and weaknesses of the potential for new commons, with recommendations for a number of ways forward. 

These include creating commons as new open spaces that form part of larger housing developments and registering new commons with meaningful rights for our modern lives: providing sustainable local resources and enabling residents to become involved in the care of the common.

The report also assesses what is needed to support communities wishing to create new commons and covers the history of commons: explaining the legal protection and open access status of commons. The current planning framework, biodiversity, health and carbon agendas are also discussed in depth.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife in Common project, which finished last year, involved working with volunteers researching the wildlife, history and use of common land in Norfolk and demonstrated the clear connection to their local common felt by many Norfolk residents. 

Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Roydon Common, credit Neal Trafankowski

Conservation Officer at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Helen Baczkowska, who is herself a  Norfolk commons rights-holder said: “Back in the day every parish in Norfolk would have had its own common. Many people in Norfolk feel passionately about commons as the places they walk, seek solace and enjoy encounters with wildlife. 

“A new common will be a public open space firmly rooted in the historic landscape of an area, providing a place for ‘fresh air and exercise’ and perhaps designed to look very like existing local commons. 

“It will be part of the ecological network of an area and have wildlife habitats that play a part in carbon capture, as well as creating a new space for wildlife. 

“With such connection to history, wildlife and communities, our project led to consideration and conversations with Norfolk County Council about the possibility of creating new commons in Norfolk.”

As the last year has demonstrated, local, accessible green space is vital for the health and wellbeing of people. This feasibility study gives illustrations that create a vision for new commons and recommendations for further action. It looks at a number of different models for creating new commons, as well as measures to gain support for the idea amongst community groups, local planning authorities and other key agencies, the development of toolkits and provision of training and support. 

Norfolk Wildlife Trust will be running a series of events to promote the idea to local authorities and communities interested in establishing new commons. If you would like to be kept informed of these event please email wild@norfolkwildlifetust.org.uk

Norfolk Commons Week is NWT’s annual weeklong celebration of commons in Norfolk, with walks, talks and practical tasks taking place around the county. 

 

Download the report here

Share this

Top news stories

2021-07-15 Rail station wildlife gardens Rail station wildlife gardens to receive stamp of approval from NWT
Thursday 15 July, 2021
Community efforts to boost nature at rail stations are to be rewarded with an official accreditation from Norfolk Wil...
2021-07-08 Commons for the future? Commons for the future?
Thursday 08 July, 2021
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has this week published a study which considers the strengths and weaknesses of the potential ...
2021-06-25 Discover seaside soap operas d Discover seaside soap operas during National Marine Week
Friday 25 June, 2021
Staycations mean more of us are set to discover the delights of our shores and coastal waters, as we visit the seasid...
2021-06-15 More than £600k raised to expa More than £600k raised to expand Brecks nature reserve
Tuesday 15 June, 2021
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has reached its fundraising target to expand one of the Brecks’ most important nature re...
2021-06-07 Go wild for beetles this summe Go wild for beetles this summer
Monday 07 June, 2021
Have you seen a two-spot bishy barnabee, a scorpion impersonator or a male beetle with swollen hind legs? This summer...
2021-05-27 30 Days Wild – the UK’s bigges 30 Days Wild – the UK’s biggest nature challenge – reveals people’s favourite ‘random acts of wildness’
Thursday 27 May, 2021
On the eve of the UK’s most popular nature challenge, 30 Days Wild, a survey of last year’s participants ...
2021-05-17 Covid update on re-opening Covid update on re-opening
Monday 17 May, 2021
In light of the Government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, Norfolk Wildlife Trust has today reopened m...
2021-05-17 Future and Form - 21- 30 May S Future and Form - 21- 30 May Shifting Lines
Monday 17 May, 2021
The shifting nature of the North Norfolk coast is evoked through the subtle choreography of voice, natural sounds, vi...
2021-04-20 Car parking booking system int Car parking booking system introduced for NWT Holme Dunes 
Tuesday 20 April, 2021
Norfolk Wildlife Trust will begin trialling an online booking system for its car park at NWT Holme Dunes on the north...
2021-04-14 Unique purple sea sponge named Unique purple sea sponge named by local child after a decade spent nameless
Wednesday 14 April, 2021
A mysterious type of purple sponge was discovered 10 years ago during a survey funded by The Wildlife Trusts (in...
2021-04-12 Prize draw of NWT 250 Club Prize draw of NWT 250 Club
Monday 12 April, 2021
First 40th anniversary draw  The February 2021 Draw of the 250 Club was held remotely on 26 February, and 118 p...
2021-04-12 Covid update - roadmap to reop Covid update - roadmap to reopening
Monday 12 April, 2021
In light of the Government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, Norfolk Wildlife Trust has reopened its vis...