Legal Advice on the Closure of Ash Ranges

Members of Save Our Spaces met with counsel from a leading London chamber and solicitor from a local law firm who have been instructed to advise Save Our Spaces in relation to the closure to the public areas of the Ash Ranges.

Although no immediate legal challenges can be mounted, counsel was able to identify two major areas of focus in our continuing campaign to restore public access to all of the Ash Ranges as well as future opportunities to challenge the MoD in the courts.

Following counsel’s advice, Save Our Spaces will move to challenge the MoD’s rationale for the closure and will begin the evidence gathering process at once. We will also seek to proactively engage with the MoD in relation to the revision of the Byelaws at the earliest opportunity as proposed by the solicitor and confirmed by counsel.

Having considered legal advice, we believe this is the best way forward to secure our objectives for the benefit of all those who enjoyed the Ash Ranges in the past and hope to again in the future.

We are not in a position to mount an immediate legal challenge to the DIO’s unilateral closure, this is the time to redouble our efforts to pursue a political route to effect a re-opening of the range floors.

The continuing misinformation being provided by the DIO to Jeremy Quin about the reasons for closure must be challenged at every opportunity. This is examples by a recent letter to one of our supporters which highlights Mr Quin is misinformed and continues to push a narrative that is inconsistent with the actual rules and guidelines.

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Despite the MOD/DIO’s proposal to provide a path to enable the public to gain access to the wider Ranges Danger Area, there has been very little action on this front and the proposed route has many drawbacks. It may just prove to have been a PR exercise….. Recent new structures imply that the path is not as originally proposed. Who is ensuring the MOD/DIO is kept to account on their promises? Not our elected representatives.

And there have been no developments in relation to the long-promised Bylaws Review either.

Please continue to lobby your MP (whether or not this is Michael Gove), Jeremy Quin, Ash Parish Council and anyone else you can think of to maintain this issue at the forefront of their minds and to make them realise that it has not gone away. Remind them that they have all been elected to serve their constituents and that they should be taking on board and taking action on the issues that matter to us.

Photo by Mikhail Pavstyuk on Unsplash

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