What is the purpose of the Commission?

It is a partly elected and partly appointed body that manages the Common on behalf of the West Berkshire Council.

Can any member of the public become a member of the Commission?

No. Ten members are commoners elected by their fellow commoners and ten are appointed by various public bodies. See page “The Commission”.

What is the cost to the Council Taxpayer?

None. The general management costs of the Common are the responsibility of BBOWT, but the Council and Commission are responsible to see that the duties under provisions Part2, Section 8 of the 2002 Act are implemented. Should any situation arise that causes a cost not covered under the terms of the lease between the Council and BBOWT, then the charge will be met under the Council’s general countryside fund.

Can Members of the public attend Commission meetings?

Yes. 30 minutes are set aside as necessary at the start of a meeting to answer any Public questions. At least a week’s notice to the chairman is required for such questions. These can be submitted via our contact page, or in writing to:

Mr P Hendry
Countryside Manager
Countryside and Environment
West Berkshire Council
Council Offices
Faraday Road
Newbury RG14 2AF

Can scramble bikes/quad bikes use the common?

Definitely not. The damage to wildlife and flora would be too great. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the common apart from those authorized by the Council.

Can the Public go off path?

Horse riders and cyclists must keep to recognized paths. Walkers may cross anywhere but with great care. From March through July walkers are requested to keep off the open spaces to avoid disturbing ground nesting birds.

Can dogs be left off the leash?

From March through July dogs must be kept on a lead anywhere around open ground, this is to protect ground nesting birds. There are posts coloured green indicating areas where dogs may be off the leash and off the main paths during this period. At all times dogs must be kept under close control and on a lead if approaching livestock. Please clean up after your dog.

Do the car park gates ever get closed?

Yes. They are locked between the hours of 4.00 pm. and 8.00 am. in winter and 9.00pm. and 8.am. in the summer.

Can public events be held on the common?

This depends on type of event. Any festival or sporting event must be “conducive to the attainment of all or any of the purposes…” set out in the 2000 Act. In other words events such as Pop festivals, motor races or any other type of noisy or disruptive event would not get approval, neither would any application requiring access to open land in the summer months when ground nesting birds would be disturbed. Each application would be considered on its own merits. The Commission would want to engage with the public and it would be sympathetic to charitable events or those related to local culture/history. All events organisers will also need to obtain permission to hold the event from The Berks Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust as well as the agreement of the Commission. The Trust will provide a licence for the event, and advise on whether a risk assessment needs to be undertaken. Production companies looking to film on the Commons should contact the Trust’s media office on media@bbowt.org.uk . You may also require permission from the Commission, Natural England and Historic England, so ensure you leave sufficient time to seek permissions when making arrangements for the event.

Can animals, wildlife or grazing be fed?

No. Under very strict conditions grazing animals may be fed in difficult times. Please do not under any circumstances feed ponies or cattle on the common, and do not leave litter, which they may accidentally eat, or which could injure them.

What is the role of BBOWT?

Management of Greenham and Crookham Commons was passed to BBOWT in January 2014, and they manage the Commons on behalf of West Berkshire Council, the owners of the Commons. Seasonal workers from BBOWT run events to meet and guide visitors, explaining about the habitats and fauna of the commons. BBOWT’s rangers also manage the commons on a day to day basis and organise maintenance work to be carried out, and BBOWT has created a Commons Management Plan.