Countryside group claims victory over Government

A conservation charity has claimed a campaign victory against the Home Office, after it reversed plans to ban the public from land around the Prime Minister's country home.

The Home Office had mistakenly included designated public-access land near Chequers, Buckinghamshire, in a new criminal trespass zone created as part of measures to protect royal and government sites from security breaches.

The Open Spaces Society, Britain’s oldest national conservation body, alerted the Home Office about the inclusion of land at Beacon Hill, which is classified as public access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

“Fortunately we spotted this error in time,” said Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of ther charity, which has an income of £125,000 a year. “The Home Office admitted it got it wrong and has been able to rectify its mistake.”

On 4 May Home Office put an order before parliament to amend the boundary so that no public access land is included. The regulations come into force this June.

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