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Trap Grounds

Saturday, 30 June 2012 10:38

Oxford Conservation Volunteers harvesting reeds on the Trap Grounds pond October 2012 Oxford Conservation Volunteers harvesting reeds on the Trap Grounds pond October 2012 Photo: Dick Mayon-White

The Trap Grounds is six acres of reedbed, ponds, and woodland in suburban north Oxford. They were successfully registered as a Town Green in 2006 after a four-year legal campaign by the local community.

Despite its origins as a rubbish tip, over the past 50 years the Trap Grounds has become a wildlife haven in the midst of the city. The land would have been sacrificed for housing had it not been for local residents, the Friends of the Trap Grounds. Their long, determined and expensive campaign ended in the House of Lords. The decision of the Law Lords in favour of the campaigners not only saved Trap Grounds but clarified the law, allowing many other campaigns, including those to save Warneford Meadow in Oxfordshire, to proceed.

After a public inquiry held in Oxford in 2002 the Inspector, Vivian Chapman QC, accepted the evidence of the Friends of the Trap Grounds that the western half of the site had been used by the local community for lawful pastimes as of right for at least twenty years, and that it should therefore be registered as a Town Green. But the City Council, who owned the site and wanted to develop it, took the case to the High Court, where Mr Justice Lightman ruled in favour of the Friends. The City Council then appealed to the Court of Appeal, which found against the Friends on a technicality which would have made it virtually impossible for any piece of land to be registered as a Town Green in future. So the Friends appealed to the House of Lords in 2006 and finally won the case. The Trap Grounds is now safe from development and the law relating to Town Greens has been clarified and strengthened.

The future of this wildlife haven is assured for the resident glow worms and water voles and for walkers and bird-watchers in search of tranquillity. The Friends of the Trap Grounds still exists to preserve the Grounds for present and future recreation and to promote its biodiversity.

In June 2007, CPRE Oxfordshire awarded the ‘CPRE Mark’ to the Friends of the Trap Grounds in recognition of their outstanding and successful campaign to save the site.

© CPRE Oxfordshire, 20 High Street, Watlington, Oxfordshire OX49 5PY - phone 01491 612079 - email campaign@cpreoxon.org.uk 

CPRE Oxfordshire is a registered charity, number 1093081, and company limited by guarantee, registered in England, number 04443278

Registered Office: CPRE Oxfordshire, 20 High Street, Watlington, Oxfordshire OX49 5PY