Press Reports

Newspaper and magazine reports.



EVN report. submitted 13/02/12

Farnham Herald - 15/2/12







Ninety six people from Elstead, Thursley, Rushmoor and other villages came to Elstead URC to discuss the closure of the Dropping Zone car park on Hankley Common and reduced access to the Common. The meeting was organised by the “Protect Access to Hankley” group (PATH).

Dave Sumner Smith gave a presentation of the historic and legal situation on Hankley with contributions from Pat Murphy, John Mathisen and David Moxon. Landmarc wardens have adopted a very aggressive approach to users of the common over the past two years.  Until then, the army and the public had shared the Common amicably for over 40 years.

Following a meeting between the MoD and local Councillors the MoD has cancelled the unacceptable proposal for a car park east of Thursley Road. The DZ park will remain open until a replacement is found.  Public access to the Common is to be maintained, but the MoD insist that the DZ car park will be closed due to their operational needs. They also claim that dog mess at the DZ car park affects training and the environment.

The MoD has come up with three possible alternatives for the new car park. The first is at the crossroads where Woolfords Lane and Truxford Lane cross – about 300m from the DZ car park. The second is an area on top of Houndown itself via the gate opposite Dye House Lane, but access to the Common is difficult. Third, the Pitch Place parking area could be restored to give more capacity. Those present overwhelmingly preferred the first option.

Few people were convinced by the MoD’s arguments for closing the DZ car park but all agreed that discussions need to continue. Closing the DZ parking area during exercises was rejected, as this would confuse visitors. People were aware of the increased level of military usage, but this has happened before with no need to close the car park. There is concern that Hankley Common has too heavy a share of increased training and there is suspicion of a bigger MoD agenda. Despite increased training commercial filming is allowed.

Many people are concerned about the policing of Hankley. Horse riders and dog walkers said that they had been harassed by wardens over the past year for doing what they had always done. Riders would prefer free access but they need permits which are difficult to obtain.

The meeting agreed that PATH should go forward on the basis of these proposals and discussions. PATH is keen to ensure that all interests are represented, including walkers, cyclists, horse riders and model aircraft flyers. The need is to reach a constructive solution with the MoD.

There is a survey on how people use the Common, filled out by those at the meeting. This is available online on the Elstead website at: . Paper survey forms are available from, and can be returned to, the veterinary surgery on Elstead Green or posted in the Elstead URC letter box.  There is also a petition for people to sign at .  Any concerns or ideas can be emailed to

A collection was made at the meeting and people contributed generously to help PATH continue its work. Any surplus at the end of the campaign will be donated to charity.