A LONG fought victory looks likely for campaigners battling to keep parking free in the Forest.

In 2015 The City of London Corporation asked Parliament for additional powers to regulate green spaces in Epping Forest, in a bid to deal with anti-social behaviour and to generate additional income through lettings and events.

The amendments caused outraged among regular users of the land, who feared a slippery slope of fines for minor infringements and a lack of representation for local people.

After two years of ardent campaigning, alternative submissions and a petition which gained more than 15,000 signatures, it looks as if the people’s will will be enacted.

On January the Corporation’s 2015/16 to 2017/19 Open Spaces Bill goes before Parliament for a third time, with two key changes.

If it passes not only will a consultation committee be set up, meaning amendments are run past residents before they come into force, but plans to issue fixed penalty notices to motorists look to be dropped.

Paul Morris, a Loughton based builder who spearheaded the campaign, said: “It started with the proposed changes to the Epping Forest Act following on from a public meeting we held.

“The current amendments seem to be a sensible balance between what the city needs and keeping it accessible and as free as it can be for all.

“The main issue was they were looking at parking charges which we were opposed to and the key in the amendments are the provisions for consultation.”

The public’s right to use the Forest has been protected since the 1878 Epping Forest Act, which also cements the City of London’s role as conservators.

On May 6, 1882, Queen Victoria stood before a crowd of half a million during a ceremonial visit and dedicated the land to “the use and enjoyment of my people for all time”.

To read the revised bill, click here.