What’s really frustrating is the lies, the catalogue of lies. And misinformation that we’re receiving from them for a year and a half.
I’ve lost my faith.….. In government. Where are the people who are representing us?Rev Neil Lambert, BBC South Today
The last 2 weeks have been hectic for our volunteer campaigners.
The Observer – 18th July
Just as the holidays hit, our friends over at Save Middlewick Ranges had their campaign featured in The Observer, and of the back of that article, we were contacted by the reporter.
His article is available on The Guardian website here
Some quotes from the article
“I think they’re trying to scare us,” Johnson said. “It’s harassment.”Rod Johnson
“I still walk my dogs on the ranges every day,” Johnson said. “I’ve walked the ranges since 1960. My girls cycled on the range road to school. I learned to ride a motorbike. People fly kites, they go tobogganing in the winter. The scouts, the guides, the brownies – they use it too.”Rod Johnson
“Vandalism has actually gone up since they closed the ranges,” Corns said. “There’s no one around to spot anything.”Peter Corns
“In 2019 we came to an agreement with the DIO about where we could ride,” he said. “But they have started trying to get rid of us again.”Simon Brown
“More than 11,000 people come here. It’s a place you can come to shed the baggage of life.”Simon Brown
BBC South Today – 5th August
On 5th August, we also appeared on the BBC South Today.
Some screenshots highlighting our campaigners
For people with less immobility, children and people with pushchairs they can’t access the wider ranges. They need. The part of the Rangers that has been closed off.Kate Foster
People bought houses specifically to be near near this open area. It’s being used by lots of people. For you know over 100 years and all of a sudden its just closed.Tim Jones
(I go on the ranges) When it’s safe, when the red flags aren’t flying and there’s nobody else on the range. Because I feel it is my right now. I feel that I shouldn’t be intimidated.Rod Johnson
A full transcript of the BBC article is below
Hello, welcome to South. Today I’m David Allard.
There is frustration among walkers and cyclists in Aldershot tonight after the Ministry of Defence banned public access to an area of common land used for military training in the past.
The ash ranges training area was only closed for short periods while in use by the army, but the MOD says recent vandalism and safety concerns have forced it to permanently seal off. Part of the vast area. Alan Sinclair reports
Allen Sinclair (BBC Reporter)
It’s the part closest to homes and the most accessible for wheelchairs, bikes and buggies. But after generation sharing this place with their army neighbours, locals have now been locked out. This barrier, as far as they can go.
People bought houses specifically to be near near this open area. It’s being used by lots of people. For you know over 100 years and all of a sudden its just closed.
For people with less immobility, children and people with pushchairs they can’t access the wider ranges. They need. The part of the Rangers that has been closed off.
Initially, when the barrier came down in April last year, the MOD called it a COVID measure, but is locked down. Rules have changed, so here’s the reason for excluding the public now the MOD say it’s to prevent vandalism to its property.
Rev Neil Lambert
What’s really frustrating is the lies, the catalogue of lies. And misinformation that were receiving from them for a year and a half. I’ve lost my faith…… In government where are the people who are representing us?
Vast areas of the South are regularly used for military training. Red flags and warning signs showing when they are closed as a safety measure, but in a statement the Ministry of Defence has confirmed the technical areas of the ash ranges have been permanently closed.
The safety of the general public and of our service personnel is of the utmost importance. The remaining area of the range is open to the public when military training is not taking place
Despite warnings from MOD police. Pensioner Rob Johnson has continued to climb the fences to access the site
When it’s safe, when the red flags aren’t flying and there’s nobody else on the range. Because I feel it is my right now. I feel that I shouldn’t be intimidated.
Those fighting the closure say they’re not going away there, exploring legal challenges and pressing their politicians to step in. Allen Sinclair, BBC South today.