There is a statutory responsibility on a Local Authority to maintain a register of town and village greens. A town and village green can be registered if it can be established that a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality or neighbourhood within a locality as of right have used the land for lawful sports and pastimes for a period of 20 years.
Often an application to register a town and village green is taken as a tactic to seek to prevent development of the land.
There are a number of applications that are still pending with local authorities as there is a significant backlog in determining town and village green applications and delays of between 5 and 10 years is not unusual.
This is an important consideration if you are considering developing land as, once declared, a town and village green will effectively prevent the development of the land and the value will be significantly affected.
The team can offer advice in respect of the possibility of town and village greens being registered and has experience of appearing at public inquiries to seek to resist a town and village green application. There are also a new set of provisions which would statutorily bar a town and village green application from succeeding.
If you have issues relating to a town and village green, or a prospective registration of a town and village green, please do not hesitate to contact the members of the team set out below.
The Local Authority for the area also has a responsibility to maintain a Register of Common Land.
Common Land is an area of land where the commoners of the area have the ability to use it – normally for the grazing of animals.
If there is an area of common land within a development site, no development of the common land itself can take place unless the common land is de-registered or some form of exchange has taken place (to, in effect, exchange the common land for some other land within the vicinity).
There is also provision whereby common land may have been registered in error and it can be de-registered from the property.
The team has experience of advising on these issues and has successfully de-registered common land using the statutory process. This involved preparation of the case, attendance at a public inquiry to seek to persuade the registration authority that the statutory criteria have been met.
The removal of common land from a development site could have a significant value implication.