Freeman’s Meadow (off the Fairmile) has been now been legally registered as a Village Green to protect this peaceful space from development for future generations to come and enjoy.
The registration has taken two years to complete. In 2018, encouraged by Henley Town Council, local residents got together to form the Friends of Freeman’s Meadow (FFM) with the specific purpose of helping the Council to preserve the meadow and recommending enhancements to reflect the current tranquil nature of the field. The Committee decided to recommend to the Council that it should consider registering Freemans Meadow as a Village Green so that it would legally protect the meadow from any further development in perpetuity. Two FFM members, Tony May and John Carrell agreed to progress this. The proposal was made to the HTC Open and Green Spaces Subcommittee in the summer of 2018 and received full support. The proposal progressed through various committee stages until finally achieving approval by the main Town Council.
There were however one or two legal issues to resolve for which independent legal advice was needed, so John (a retired partner from a big London law firm) and Tony set about identifying a law firm that had the relevant experience. They were helped by the Open Spaces Society (fortuitously located in Henley) who provided a list of possible lawyers, and also gave comprehensive advice as to the issues at stake. The legal issues were all eventually resolved and the Council was happy to proceed with the application, efficiently progressed by the fairly new Town Clerk, Sheridan Jacklin-Edward.
The Town Council bought Freeman’s Meadows in 1955 and in 1957 a part of the field was sold to developers (Fairmile Court). Last year the Town Council improved the meadow with a refurbished and extended playground and the planting of an orchard and wildflowers.
Sheridan said, “I am delighted to announce the successful registration of Freeman’s Meadow as a town green. It is testament to the hard work of the Friends of Freeman’s Meadow as well as the dedicated committees and subcommittees of Henley Town Council. It was a pleasure to see this project through and it is a great example of the Council working with local people. This year, more than ever, we treasured our outdoor spaces, and it is wonderful to know it is protected for the enjoyment of future generations of Henley residents.”