Town and village greens — a good case for developers

Ever since it came into force in April 2007, section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 has been used by objectors to thwart development. This section allows any person to apply to the commons registration authority to register land as a town or village green where:

  • a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or a significant number of the inhabitants of any neighbourhood within a locality, have indulged in lawful sports and pastimes on the land for a period of at least 20 years; and
  • they have indulged in those sports and pastimes as of right.

Although subsequent legislation tightened up the requirements for registration, applications are still being made, and section 15 continues to be a potential thorn in the side for developers, since registration of land as a town or village green will render it undevelopable…

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