Government’s plans for village greens a kick in the teeth for localism

12 November 2012

We have slated the government’s plans for town and village greens in the Growth and Infrastructure Bill as ‘a kick in the teeth for localism’.

We are calling on Members of Parliament to speak against clause 13 of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill which is due for second reading in the House of Commons soon.

Explains our general secretary Kate Ashbrook: ‘The clause is an oppressive measure which will make it difficult, if not downright impossible, to register land as a town or village green once it has been identified for development—even if that identification is a well-kept secret.

‘The government wants to stop so-called “vexatious” applications to register greens which, it claims, are being submitted solely to thwart development. In fact few applications are purely vexatious and the clause has the effect of killing genuine applications too.

‘The Bill says that a ‘trigger event’—which includes first publication of a planning application or identification of the land for potential development in a local or neighbourhood plan—puts an immediate stop on any new application to register the land as a green. The trigger event may not even be public.

‘Furthermore, as soon as this part of the Act takes effect, no application to register land as a green can be made for land already subject to a trigger event unless the greens application has already been submitted.

‘So the rug is being pulled from under us without giving us a chance to save our spaces.

‘Village and town greens are not only the old-fashioned sort with a duck pond and a cricket square. The ones which communities claim today are likely to be pieces of overlooked or marginal land which have been used by local people for recreation─for walking the dog, kicking a ball about or picking blackberries, for instance. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are pretty, many are plain though useful. But they are loved and enjoyed by their communities.

‘The government’s proposals will put an instant end to the ability of local people to protect their much-loved spaces. This is a developers’ charter,’ Kate concludes.

Lower Park, Shaldon, Devon

Examples of much-loved land in England which has been registered as a town or village green, but which might well not have been registered if the Growth and Infrastructure Bill had been passed.

Barnsley, Cadwell, Cudworth (2009)
Blackburn with Darwen, land at Shaftesbury Avenue, Darwen
Bristol, Whitchurch Green (2011)
Bucks, Oak Tree Meadow, Beaconsfield (2010)
Bucks, Pimms Close, High Wycombe (2006)
Calderdale, Crowtrees Lane, Rastrick (2009)
Cheshire West and Chester, Land at Flashes Lane, Ness (2011)
Cambridgeshire, Camping Close, Linton (2010)
Derby, Sturgess Fields, Kedleston Road (2010)
Devon, Sugary Green, Dartmouth (2011)
Devon, Littletown Green, Honiton (2011)
Devon, Lower Park, Palk Close, Shaldon (2011)
East Sussex, Herbrand Walk, Bexhill-on-Sea (2011)
Essex, Brighton Road, Clacton-on-Sea (2012)
Essex, Eastleigh Park, Basildon (2009)
Gloucestershire, Bredon Road, Tewkesbury (2008)
Hampshire, Mengham Park, Hayling Island (2009)
Hertfordshire, Waterside at St Albans (2012)
Hertfordshire, Woodcock Road, Borehamwood (2008)
Kent, Sherwood Lakes, Tunbridge Wells (2010)
Kirklees, Clayton Fields, Huddersfield (2012)
Leeds, Yeadon Banks (2012)
Lincolnshire, Earlsfield Estate, Grantham (2008)
London Borough of Southwark, King’s Stairs Garden (2011)
Newcastle upon Tyne, Chadderton Field (2011)
Northamptonshire, Oundle Road, Weldon (2012)
Northumberland, The Old School Field, Haltwhistle (2011)
North Yorkshire, land at Conistone village, Grassington (2010)
Oxfordshire, Trap Grounds, Oxford (2005)
Oxfordshire, Warneford Meadow, Oxford (2010)
Redcar and Cleveland, Coatham Common (2010)
Shropshire, Church Bridge Field, Dorrington (2012)
Shropshire, the railway land, Oswestry (2008)
South Gloucestershire, The Green, Pucklechurch (2012)
Staffordshire, Newpool Meadows, Knypersley (2009)
Suffolk, Days Green, Capel St Mary (2010)
Surrey, The Dell, Fetcham (2011)
Surrey, Windmill Drive, Leatherhead (2009)
Swindon, Barra Close, Highworth (2010)
Torbay, Wishing Fields, Brixham (2010)
Wakefield, The Old Colliery Site, Newmillerdam (2009)
West Sussex, Greensward, Goring (2009)
West Sussex, Ramsey Close, Horsham (2009)
Windsor and Maidenhead, The Kayles, Wraysbury (2011)
Worcestershire, Austin Rise, Lickey Hills (2011)