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We have called on landowners, particularly local councils, to consider dedicating land as a town or village green as the perfect Christmas gift to the community.
Once land is registered as a green it is protected, by nineteenth-century laws, from development and local people have rights of informal recreation there.
It is open to any landowner voluntarily to register land as a green, under section 15(8) of the Commons Act 2006. The registration process is simple; the only requirements are to provide proof of ownership, obtain the consent of any leaseholder or chargeholder, complete a form and send it to the commons registration authority (county or unitary council. The society’s guidance on this is here.
Landowners, including parish and community councils and other local authorities, can dedicate their land as a green to ensure it remains open and available for the public to enjoy for ever. This is especially important now, as green spaces are increasingly at risk of development or commercial abuse, and the public is likely to lose out.
Unfortunately, this is an under-used provision and we have few examples of voluntary registrations—we want to see many more.
This month the Grange Area Trust registered 42 acres at Widmer Fields near Hazlemere and Widmer End in Bucks, setting a fine example to others.
In 2015 Kent County Council registered the Old Putting Green at Montefiore Avenue, Ramsgate, as a green following an application from the landowner, Thanet District Council.
In 2011, Lancashire County Council registered Barnoldswick town green, on the application of the landowner, Pendle Borough Council.
We call on landowners to present the best and most lasting Christmas gift of all to their communities—voluntary registration of a town or village green which can then be enjoyed by local people for ever.