For those people lucky enough to have a village green community spirit is often very important. People in the local community tend to use village greens for sports or pastimes such as cricket matches, dog walking or even fetes. These communities are apparently causing a headache for developers because they could apply to register the land as a town or village green.
When purchasing land, developers should ensure that they obtain full details as to the use of the land including whether it has been used for any purpose that may support a claim for registration of TVG.
Some recent decisions regarding registration of TVG have caused concern for owners and developers. In R v Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council (2010) a TVG application under the Commons Act 2006 was utilised by local objectors who were opposed to the redevelopment of part of a golf course. The Supreme Court held that the residents who made use of the common for recreational purposes had been using it for at least 20 years “as of right”, despite deferring to the golfers if golf was in play.
The Court’s decision indicates that many open spaces used by local inhabitants for 20 years could be subject to a successful TVG application.
However, in the recent case of Betterment Properties (Weymouth) Ltd v Dorset CC (2010) it was held that a landowner who had erected numerous signs over a period of years warning that the land was private and warned off members of the public had been doing everything, proportionately to the user, to contest and interrupt it. It was therefore clear to the members of the public that the landowner objected and continued to object to that use of the land.
According to a report by the Rural Coalition the government need to address the issue of increasing “vexatious” village green applications. Surely if you habitually use that village green then you have a right to express your opinion and to use any means necessary to keep the fast-fading tradition of community spirit alive?
We all agree that there needs to be affordable housing but how much are you prepared to sacrifice for that — or is it okay as long it’s not your village green under threat of development?
It is so simple to carry out a Commons Registration Search to establish whether the land is registered as common land but why request one? If the property is in a rural area or if access is via open land then a Commons Registration Search would be beneficial. These searches can be submitted to the local authority on CON290 (enquiry 22) at an additional cost, which will vary depending on the local authority involved.
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