‘By right’ or ‘as of right’: Supreme Court holds that public recreation ground cannot be registered as a village green

We have reported previously on this case, which much to everyone’s surprise won permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The Lords, however, agreed with the lower two courts, but this case is still worth a look because it also rules that the decision and reasoning in an earlier, and contradictory, House of Lords decision (Beresford) can no longer be relied upon.

In Barkas, the issue was whether the Helredale playing field in Whitby, which Scarborough Borough Council maintains as ‘recreation grounds’ pursuant to what is now section 12(1) of the Housing Act 1985, could be registered as a village green under section 15(2) of the Commons Act 2006.

Section 15(2) states that any person may apply to register land as a town or village green where a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood within a locality, have indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the land for at least 20 years…

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