Ramblers claim victory in battery site battle
Ramblers are claiming victory in a long-running battle over
access to land adjoining the Battle of Britain memorial at
Last year a court told businessman John Button to remove
obstructions he put over two gates to block access to the battery
site, so called because it housed three big guns during the Second
The site had been designated open access land under the
Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act. It was the first time
legal action had been taken under the act.
After the case Mr Button applied to Natural England, the
government body which administers open access land, for large parts
of the site to be exempt from the ruling, thus still denying access
But after negotiations with Mr Button, Natural England has ruled
that ‘a restriction of public access to the open access land at
Capel battery would not be reasonable’.
John Button fenced off
The site will be open, apart from a compound which Mr Button
wants to develop.
The obstructions have been removed, and people are now free to
walk on the site.
Members of the White Cliffs Ramblers – the branch of the
national ramblers organisation covering south and east Kent, which
backed the legal action after reporting the obstructions – are
Chairman Margaret Lubbuck said: “Commonsense prevails. We have
the right to roam now on another small part of the White
Mr Button’s son Martin, who has been acting as spokesman on the
battery site dispute, said the real victory was for his father, as
an important part of the site would be exempt from the Natural
He said his father, who has spent £200,000 on the
site, wants to turn that particular area into a tourist
Plans include putting a big Second World War gun there and
restoring an underground hospital.
He said: “We accept the rulling but I don’t know why the
ramblers are claiming a victory. It is really a victory for
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