Village greens – two lifelines at last?

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10 June 2011

A recent County Court case may offer some assistance to landowners faced with applications from local residents to register village greens on potential development land.  It decided that where a local authority appropriates its own land for planning purposes - as it may under statutory powers - that act of appropriation will override village green rights if the property is developed in accordance with a planning permission.  In these circumstances objectors to the development would have little to gain by pursuing registration of the land as a town or village green.

These provisions do require the local authority to be the landowner, and so will be more useful for larger scale developments, possibly where the council is in a joint venture with a developer, but is a rare instance of the court reaching a conclusion which enables development rather than assisting local objectors to development. 

On the strategy front, the MacDonald Report recommends that applicants should take responsibility for part of the costs of any new application for a village green.  At present only the Council and the landowner bear the costs of the application.  Such a move would inject some badly needed realism into many of the claims currently being made. 

For further information contact Alastair Morrison on (0117) 939 2258 or email alastair.morrison@burges-salmon.com

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