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Property Clinic: Can we stop development by registering as Green Village?


We want to stop developing the grasslands opposite our homes. Can we do this by registering it as a green village?

It has been used unimpeded by the public for recreational purposes for over 20 years. Does this exclude her from the “development site”? MT

Residents may be able to register a local grassy area as a green village to protect it from developers

MailOnline real estate expert Mira Butterworth said: More housing is required in this country, but new developments need to be carefully considered.

We just need to take a look at the cladding scandal to see how poorly designed schemes can ruin the lives of both homeowners and their communities.

Council planners need to consider how district development plans can benefit potential new homeowners and the community they are moving into.

Access to green spaces is key to this process, and registering an area as a green village is one way to protect spaces for community use. We find out if it can be used in this case.

Stephen Gould, retired judge and author explains: Maypole dancing, playing cricket, lying on the grass, bird watching or dog walking.

If enough locals have been engaged in this type of activity on a plot of land for at least 20 years, any of them can apply to their local authority to register that land as a green city or village.

This is thanks to the 2006 Commons Act, which defines required use as “legitimate sports and amusement”.

This must be done openly and not under the cover of darkness, without the landowner having actually given permission for the activity – and without the use of force. Jump over the fence? “If you don’t let me keep dancing, I’ll cheer you up.” None of this.

Why register the land as a green village?

The registration offers more than just an assertion that the right exists for the locals – in effect defined as “the inhabitants of any district, or any neighborhood within the district” – to use the land as they were doing. It effectively prevents the landowner from developing the land.

In the past, there was a lot of messing around. With many registrations being used to delay planning requests or to discourage owners from taking advantage of the planning permissions they had for their land, the law was changed. Enter the Growth and Infrastructure Act of 2013.

This eliminated the ability to score if only one of the 14 events occurred. Crucially, these events include not only the granting of planning permission for the land, but also the filing of a pending application for permission. However, the right to register will be revived if the planning permission is refused or any permission granted is not implemented during his lifetime.

Also, preventing registration would be tantamount to defining the land to be developed in the draft development plan document that was approved or submitted for consultation.

If the planning application related to the land in question is pending, it will prevent the application for registration as a green village

If the planning application related to the land in question is pending, it will prevent the application for registration as a green village

Lessons for the landowner

There should be no pressure on the landowner to prevent the use of his land eligible for registration.

Cessation of use, if necessary, by injunction or fencing of land so that it is not accessible.

Or make it clear that they allow use but may withdraw the permission when they choose, which can be done by displaying a notice on the floor that says so.

There is a more specific and simpler method. It uses the system introduced by the 2013 law and involves filing a written statement and plan with the local authority. The statement declares that the owner wishes to terminate any period of time up to 20 years. This is exactly what you will do: stop the clock.

Locals could recount another 20 years of enjoying the land, but the owner could then deposit another statement that would return the watch. And so and so on.

And after 20 years…?

If 20 years have passed but no registration has taken place, the owner can still file a statement and plan.

This would have the effect of setting a limited period during which any registration could be filed by local people – one year for land in England and two years for land in Wales. After that, it’s too late for the locals. This is very risky for the owner, because a belated statement will be published by the authority, and thus will alert the locals to the fact that if they want to register, they have to pull their fingers.

So where does this case stand?

I understand that the planning application relating to the land under consideration is pending.

This will prevent an application to be registered as a Green Village for any part of that land. If the application is withdrawn, rejected or not activated in time, then registration can be done.

But since the planning request may not extend to some of the lands the locals enjoyed, it is still possible to go ahead with registration. Plans made with the application of planning should be examined under a microscope.

Stephen Gould is a former judge and author of The Breach of Law Returns. For more information visit the website: breaklaw.co.uk.

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