Helen Slade, the OSS's correspondent for the Isle of Wight

Helen Slade, the OSS's correspondent for the Isle of Wight

A retired rights-of-way inspector will be the eyes and ears of campaigning group the Open Spaces Society on the Isle of Wight.

Helen Slade has been appointed local correspondent for the society, Britain’s oldest national conservation body.

Ms Slade, who lives in Ventnor, will keep a close watch on paths, commons, greens, open spaces and the progress of the coastal path on the island, and intervening as necessary.

She recently retired after nearly 20 years as a rights-of-way inspector with the Planning Inspectorate, dealing with all types of rights-of-way cases, as well as commons and village greens, high hedges and hedgerow removal.

Before that she was head of the countryside and rights of way section of Darlington Borough Council. After moving to the Isle of Wight in 1999 she was appointed the South Downs Way national trail officer before becoming the Isle of Wight area of outstanding natural beauty officer. She is a former president of the Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management.

Ms Slade said: “I am delighted to be appointed as local correspondent for the Open Spaces Society. I joined the society when I retired as a means of continuing my interest in public access and recreation.

“The Isle of Wight was the first, and only, local authority to achieve the Year 2000 milestone target, set by the Countryside Commission, for opening up all its public rights of way. So I hope not to find too many path problems.”

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: “We are thrilled to have attracted Helen to the voluntary post of local correspondent.

“With her long professional experience in public rights of way, access, commons and greens, and her love of the countryside, she is the ideal person to represent us on the island.”

The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 and campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and people’s right to enjoy them.

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