School has no right to take over this public space

We have just discovered that Coleridge School have applied to take over and fence off all the common land on Crouch End Hill in front of the school, right up to the pavement. This woodland public garden has always been enjoyed by everyone - as they walk

We have just discovered that Coleridge School have applied to take over and fence off all the common land on Crouch End Hill in front of the school, right up to the pavement.

This woodland public garden has always been enjoyed by everyone - as they walk along its public footpath to the shops, bring their children safely to school away from the main road, or simply enjoy an evening stroll through the lovely old trees.

We are fortunate that many public buildings have nearby green spaces, which we can all enjoy. Public green spaces help to make living in London pleasant and attractive, and give it a less urban feel. They provide refreshment alongside our polluted roads. This land, which can be accessed at all times, is particularly important for people who do not have their own garden.

This application, if agreed, could begin a very alarming planning precedent. For once public land is allowed to be fenced off from the public, the principle of common access to public land is lost for ever. And you can bet it won't be long before other public buildings are tempted to do the same.

Sue Hessel

Chair, Haslemere Road Residents' Association, Crouch End, N8.