What can you do about it?

[Petition Results]

[Opinion Survey]

[Public Meeting]

[Write a letter]



The on-line petition received 572 signatures from supporters from as far away as Plymouth and Aberdeen! 

Area Signatures
Paper from the Public Meeting 52
Elstead  175
Haslemere, Hindhead  54
Aberdeen > Plymouth , etc  53
Godalming  36
Milford, Witley  32
Guildford, Woking  22
Farnham  22
Aldershot, Camberley   20
Tongham & Tilford  16
Farnham  15
Esher, Epsom  15
Thursley  14
Headley, Bordon  12
Shackleford, Peper Harow  9
Churt   7
Bramshott, Liphook  7
Normandy, Compton 6
Church Crookham, Fleet  5
Total 572

  Opinion Survey

An opinion survey was used to collect information on paper and on-line. The results are here [LINK]


  Public Meeting  Friday Feb 10th

A very well attended meeting was held at the United Reformed Church on Friday evening. 96 people came to hear about the proposed closure of the central car park on Hankley Common.

Presentations were given on the general situation, the laws that affect access to the Common and the MoD plans. This was followed by a question and answer session.


  HANKLEY COMMON CLOSURES  Don't just sit there - write to somebody!

If you want to DO SOMETHING about the loss of the central car park and open access on Hankley Common how about a letter to your MP or local Councillor?

You can find out who to write to here: http://www.writetothem.com/ 

They will even send your letter for you if you want.

Here are some of the reasons why we are against the closure of the car park and the restriction of open access to the Common. Please borrow any ideas that you want but use your own words.


There are many reasons as to why so many people are upset about the plan to restrict public access to Hankley Common. Listed below are a number of points that have already been brought up. Think about whether these are of concern to you. Why not let your MP know? Or Philip Hammond - the Secretary of State for Defence, who is also a Surrey MP.

 1.      Large area allows co-existence between military and public use

The military and the public have shared use of Hankley Common for 40 years or more.  The level of use for military training activities such as parachute drops and cadet training has varied considerably. Hankley Common is a very large area of 230 hectares with multiple tracks, so it is easy for members of the public to avoid areas of military training. Despite regular military training taking place, the area is so large it is easy to go to Hankley Common every day and not even come close to such activities.

2.      Proposed replacement car park less convenient

Elderley and disabled people and parents with small children will find it much more difficult to access the Common.

3.      Contradictory motives for car park closure
Despite 40 years of peaceful coexistence, Landmarc has suggested that having a car park in the middle of a military training area raises concerns about health and safety. (Such concerns have apparently been disregarded, however, in the siting of the proposed new car park.) At the same time they have said there is no intention to restrict public access. This is disingenuous. Cars parked in a visitors' car park do not present a threat to health and safety. Despite Landmarc's denials, we believe the real motive is to restrict public access.

4.      Preserve disabled and family access
One of the benefits of the existing car park at Hankley Common is that it allows all members of the public to get onto the heart of the Common. From there they can enjoy good, firm trails at the top of a ridge providing views across Surrey, as well as easy access to wider parts of the common that remain dry and walkable even in the worst weathers. This enables families with children - together with less able-bodied people, including those in wheelchairs to enjoy the open space. There are a number of disabled people, including paralympic athletes, who use Hankley Common to relax and enjoy themselves. Hampering access to the car park will have a severe impact on their access to the Common.

5.      MoD guidance on public access
The MoD states emphatically on their Hankley Common website that "we will seek to increase the overall amount, quality and certainty of access to the estate." Their actions, however, are in direct contradiction to this public commitment.

6.      Paid access to Hankley Common
There have been claims that the public access to Hankley prevents the military from training. However there has been longstanding use of Hankley Common for activities such as cross-country races, bike races and filming. The latest James Bond movie is currently filming in front of the MOD huts, while military training continues unaffected. It seems that local residents are no longer welcome for fear of disrupting training, but high paying film crews with large encampments are permitted without disruption. It is unclear whether this revenue is received by the MoD or their estate management company Landmarc.

7.      Government encouragement to exercise and enjoy open space
The British public is encouraged to take more exercise. Hankley Common represents a massive area to get out and exercise, at no cost and without impacting other people, and to take daily exercise in an unspoiled environment. Public use of Hankley Common should be encouraged, rather than restricted.

8.      Enouraging local tourism
In the year of the Olympics we have seen there are campaigns to encourage people to "Visit Surrey". Hankley Common represents a beautiful natural area in Surrey that provides magnificent views, clean air and wildlife to enjoy. It is illogical to restrict public access while seeking to promote Surrey using just such areas.

9.      Military Byelaws provide public access to enjoy the whole common
MoD and Landmarc personnel have been harassing and intimidating members of the public using the Common. Their manner has been so arrogant and aggressive that some people have been reduced to tears. Users have been told they are only allowed on a couple of paths on the Common and they are acting illegally if they move elsewhere. However, the Surrey Commons Military Byelaws say "Subject to provisions of these byelaws, the Public are permitted to use all parts of the Military Lands not specifically enclosed or the entry to which is not shown by notice as restricted, for the purposes of open-air recreation at all times providing such access does not inhibit military use of such lands for which they are appropriated."

10.     Damaging good feeling towards the military
For many local people, having soldiers training on Hankley Common is one of the few opportunities to actually see and engage with our armed forces, whether school age cadets, Territorials or regulars. This helps to put a positive, human face on the sometimes remote image of the Army. Having the military exclude the public from Hankley will not only remove this opportunity for closer relations but also have a very negative impact on public perceptions.

11.     Lack of communication and goodwill
At no time over the last few months has the MoD or Landmarc offered any straightforward communication about their intentions and reasons. There have been misdirections and lies, together with unpredictable behaviour leading to unnecessary bad feelings. Open communication, respectful dialogue and reasoned, honest behaviour is necessary to rebuild the goodwill and support felt toward the MoD.

12.     Lying about reasons for restricting access
Over the last few months there has been an orchestrated campaign of disinformation spread by the MoD/Landmarc to state that dog fouling was the reason the car park might be closed. Yet when asked about this, they have acknowledged that this was false. They concede it is nothing to do with the real reasons for plans to close the car park.

13.     Worrying pattern of behaviour in reducing public access
There has never been any open communication on the aims or motives, but instead a long-running campaign of reducing access to Hankley Common as well as other sites. There used to be other car parks at the bottom of Westbrook Hill and near Pitch Place which have been either completely removed or drastically reduced in size over the past wo years. There appears to be a long term plan to restrict public access to Hankley Common for no good reason and in direct contravention to the MOD's own guide on public access and the Surrey Commons military Byelaws. Signs giving the same warning of possible car park closure if dog mess is not drastically reduced have now been posted in other nearby areas such as the northern access to Thursley Common.