Friends of the Lake District is shocked that Cumbria County Council is likely to agree to the Ministry of Defence’s application to deregister Hilton, Murton and Warcop Commons, despite the MoD’s previous undertaking that they would never seek to do so.  

This undertaking was given at an inquiry in 2001 into the MoD’s request to compulsory purchase all the common rights on Warcop, Hilton and Murton Commons. This move was to allow them more flexibility in their training and to intensify their use of the land.

We have been shocked to learn that following a recent public inquiry held by Cumbria County Council into the applications to deregister these Commons by the MoD, this is exactly what now looks like happening. We have received confirmation that the Inspector conducting the inquiry has recommended in favour of the MOD and deregistering the land as common land.

Cumbria County Council as Commons Registration appointed Alan Evans from Kings Chambers, Leeds to conduct the Inquiry. The MoD, led by QC David Elvin had a six strong team. The lead opponents were the Open Spaces Society who appointed QC George Laurence. Other objectors included ourselves, Foundation for Common Land, Federation of Cumbrian Commoners, Hilton Commoners Association and Murton Parish Council.

Jan Darrall, Policy Officer, said:

“We are shocked and saddened for the precedent that this recommendation sets and for the future of all of our common land. The MoD made commitments never to deregister the land and that is exactly what they are now going to do.

“We are deeply concerned for the future of the Warcop, Hilton and Murton commons as there will now be very few restraints on the MOD there.

“The application has to be presented to the Development Control and Regulation Committee on Thursday 6th December for adoption, but we fully expect the Committee to adhere to the Inspector’s recommendation and to witness these historic commons lose their common land status.”

Inquiry history and background information>