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Chislehurst Common SAVED after development fears, ensuring its preservation 'for future generations'

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 September 2017

Chislehurst pond

Chislehurst pond

Archant

The Chislehurst Society has bought 180-acres of land

Chislehurst Common has been safeguarded for ‘future generations’ after a deal was struck this week with the present owner, a Russian princess.

Campaigners have described the 180 acre site as “the very essence of Chislehurst” and have hoped to strike a deal for some years.

Privately owned by Princess June Lobanov-Rostovsky, who inherited her status as ‘lord of the manor’ from her uncle, the last Viscount Marsham Townsend, the land has been maintained for the benefit of the community since a law passed in 1888.

Since then it has been managed by a board of trustees, known as Chislehurst Commons. A registered charity, it has raised funds to help meet the £100,000 a year upkeep costs.

Now the Chislehurst Society has bought the freehold to the land to ensure it remains a part of the fabric of local life.

John Hayhow, chairman of Chislehurst Commons, said: “When it became clear the commons were available to buy, the Chislehurst Society was our obvious choice of partner. Its whole ethos is the enhancement of Chislehurst and preservation of the commons is integral to that. We are extremely fortunate the purchase is financially viable for the society.”

It will be the first time the land is owned by a charitable entity that represents locals.

Chislehurst Commons will retain its responsibility for managing the site.

Tony Allen, chairman of the Chislehurst Society, said: “The generosity of Chislehurst residents, past and present, has enabled us to make this important acquisition.

“We are committed to the preservation of the commons for future generations. The commons are the very essence of Chislehurst.”

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