Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2013 position: 94

Town and village green update

Some of you are more than well acquainted with the law on town and village greens and the threat to development that it poses (at worst the complete sterilisation of land from any development but with ongoing legal responsibilities of ownership including the duty to maintain and allowing users access to the land as a town and village green). Until now the tide of change in terms of primary legislation and case law has been very much on the side of the applicant (often also the objector in the planning application process) and has been an effective tool against development.

The Government has finally realised that TVG legislation has been hijacked by objectors and is now rarely used to protect genuine qualifying green spaces for sports and community pastimes.

As part of its effort to improve the country’s economic growth the Government has proposed some fundamental changes to current TVG legislation in the new Infrastructure and Growth Bill. The Bill acknowledges that the law on TVGs operates largely in isolation from the planning process and that there is a risk of a TVG application being made at any time whether planning permission has been granted or not with all the associated cost and delay that it brings both for the Registration Authority in considering the application and the landowner in defending it, often at a public inquiry…

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