On 25 April 2013 the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 received Royal Assent. The Bill contains a number of amendments to the law on the registration of new town and village greens under section 15(1) of the Commons Act 2006, one of which – section 15C and Schedule 1A commenced on Royal Assent.
Section 15C and Schedule 1A were inserted to the Commons Act 2006 by the Bill. This excludes the right to make an application to register land under Section 15(1) where a trigger event has occurred relating to the land. The right to apply will remain excluded until a corresponding terminating event occurs in relation to that land. Trigger and terminating events, which are set out in Schedule 1A to the 2006 Act, relate to the development of land within the planning system.
If a trigger event has not occurred or a terminating event has occurred an application can be submitted to the Council as the Registration Authority under Section 15 of the Commons Act 2006. To do this you will have to prove that the land has been used as of right for a period of twenty years or more by a significant number of people in the locality for lawful sports and pastimes.
As of right means that you have not had to ask the permission of the owner to use the land and the land has not been enclosed during this time.
Lawful sports and pastimes covers such things as blackberry picking, ball games, cycling, walking, picnics, etc.
A locality can be an electoral ward/parish boundary and a significant number of people would be those that live in the locality, but you can also have some that come to the area especially to use the area of land you wish to register as a town or village green. There should be a spread of questionnaires throughout the locality. Questionnaires should not just be completed by those who live very close to the application site.
To assist with your application the County Council has produced guidance notes which include an example questionnaire which can be copied as many times as required. The application form can be downloaded from GOV.UK at Register a town or village green (CA9).
An owner can register land in their ownership as a town or village green under Section 15 (8) of the Commons Act 2006. To do this they would have to complete the application form and provide proof of ownership such as the Land Registry Title Documents. The owner does not have to prove twenty years use as of right.
GOV.UK has further information about town or village greens and how to register.
Information can also be sought from the The Open Spaces Society who are a registered charity who can assist and provide advice on applications to register land as a town or village green.
If you have any questions regarding town or village greens please contact the Land Charges Department on 01392 382937 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
When an application to register land as a town or village green has been completed this should be sent to the County Council as Commons Registration Authority to the address below:
Devon County Council