Chobham Commons Preservation Committee

  • Address:

    Chobham

    Surrey

    GU24

  • Phone: 857914

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The Chobham Commons Preservation Committee has its origins in 1832, when a society was set up to protect the rights and interests of parishioners over the vast tracts of common land surrounding the village.

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The Chobham Commons Preservation Committee has its origins in 1832, when a society was set up to protect the rights and interests of parishioners over the vast tracts of common land surrounding the village.

At that time there were many "commoners" in the parish - people who earned much, if not all, of their living from exercising certain legal rights over the common land.

These rights included turbary (the taking of heather and grass turf), estovers (taking wood) and piscary (fishing) and there were rights to graze cattle, sheep, pigs and horses.

The committee itself can into being in 1842, set up by the Vestry, the local government body which preceded the parish council. The committee actually took over the management of Chobham Common and its associated heathlands in 1879, following the “Great Court Case”.

This was a High Court action in 1873, in which commoners grouped together to successfully get the common owner, Lord Onslow, to abandon his rights to allow the digging of clay, gravel, sand and other minerals on the common.

"The Preservation" continued to look after the commons on behalf of Lord Onslow, who was also the Lord of the Manor, until 1968, when the land was sold to Surrey County Council.

Until 1985, when the council set up its own advisory group, the committee was the main consultative body for the commons. It devised the first written management plan, involving many local people. Since 1985, the committee has continued as an independent monitor and advisor, meeting regularly to discuss matters concerning the common.

In 1998, the committee’s name was revised to make the Common plural, to reflect the organisation’s interest in all common land in the ancient parish of Chobham, which includes West End.

The membership consists of delegates from organisations with an interest in the commons, including model aircraft flyers, horse riders and anglers, plus parish councils, amenity societies and residents’ groups. There are also independent members, there purely to represent the interests of the common and its flora and fauna.

The terms of reference today are:

  • To act as a body with the main aim of preserving the historic Chobham Commons and Manorial Waste.
  • To offer comment and advice on any matters relating to the Commons referred to the committee by any Authority, group or other body.
  • To make recommendations to the Surrey County Council relating to Chobham Common.

In recent years, our work has included:

  • The creation of the first written management plan for the common.
  • Co-ordinating opposition to the widening of the M3 motorway.
  • Campaigning against fly tipping and other dumping of rubbish.
  • Successful opposition to the permanent fencing of the norther section of the common.
  • Monitoring and reporting encroachments on common land.
  • Lobbying the Government to solve the M3 exchange land problem.
  • Finding alternative land to the problematical M3 exchange land.
  • Promoting the establishment of a wildflower meadow on the new exchange land.

To find out more about Chobham Commons Preservation Committee, contact:

Peter Higgs (Chairman) – 858950
Rob Searle (Secretary) - 857914

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This entry was last updated: 08/Nov/2012