The Commission

The Commission is comprised of 20 members, ten of whom are elected commoners and ten appointed representatives of various bodies. It sits for a three year period and is next subject to re-constitution on 1st May 2024. Any listed commoner is entitled to stand for election and only listed commoners may vote. West Berkshire Council (WBC) arranges and controls the voting procedure. It has to be understood that all commoners entitled rights are subject to the property and not to the individual owner. Properties and current owners listing is held by WBC.

The bulk of duties placed on the Commission by the Act requires it to use reasonable endeavours to exercise its functions in a manner which:-

  1. restores and conserves the Common as a peaceful place of natural beauty and in particular, conserves its flora and fauna and ecological, archeological geological and physiographical features
  2. conserves any part of the Common which is a site of special scientific interest
  3. subject to paragraphs (1) and (2) above –
    • promotes and improves grazing on the Common
    • promotes educational activities related to the Common land, in particular, encourages public awareness of the ecological, cultural and historic significance of the Common and any open space
    • manages the Common and any additional open space as a place open to the public for recreational purposes
    • facilitates the exercise of commoners’ rights on the Common

It requires the Council and the Commission to exercise their functions in a manner which implements the policy set out in the Management Plan, also to maintain a register of commoners and commoners’ rights. Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) under its lease acts for the Council for this duty, but the Council remains responsible under the Act.

Vision for the Commission

While the Commission is guided by the Act, this is not detailed enough to steer the management of the Commons for the variety of users and stakeholders. “Our Common Future: Vision 2050” was produced following consultation with the Commission and external stakeholders, and a public questionnaire, and is a reference document for all the organisations concerned in the management of the Commons.