Land case to cut public access

Judgment is pending in the House of Lords in a case which could have major impact on public access to privately-owned but open areas of land. The battle is over a plot of land at the Oxfordshire village of Sunningwell which was donated to the Church of England many years ago. Planning consent has been obtained to build two homes on it. But Sunningwell Parish Council has sought to have the land registered as a village green, which would block the development. A planning inspector and the High Court have rejected the application, but now the Law Lords have been asked to reverse that decision. If the council wins, the decision will have implications for many landowners who will then have to protect land they would otherwise have allowed the public on to. Judgement is expected some time before the courts rise for the summer vacation.

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