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There was all-party support in the National Assembly for Wales for maintaining the current laws for registering greens. The debate was initiated on 30 April by Suzy Davies, Conservative Assembly Member (AM) for South Wales West and Shadow Minister for Welsh Culture, Language and Tourism. Suzy asked the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies, if he would consider introducing a presumption in favour of village greens where local authorities threaten to appropriate land for development.
Julie Morgan (Cardiff North, Lab) added that in England the right of local inhabitants to apply to register land as a green has been severely curtailed. Elin Jones (Ceredigion, Plaid Cymru) recommended that a local authority should consider an application for a green before it considers a planning application on the land. Peter Black (South Wales West, Lib Dem) expressed concern that the Welsh government proposes to follow England in making it more difficult to register greens. He asked that government ‘sticks with your rhetoric about trying to protect green spaces and sticks to the present regime’.
Alun Davies replied that he was not the responsible minister for planning. The planning minister had issued a consultation paper, Positive Planning, ‘where he tries to strike a balance between maintaining the need to preserve land as town and village greens and providing developers with a greater degree of certainty in bring forward appropriate developments’. It was important to encourage communities throughout Wales to ensure that children have an environment where they can play, and the minister expressed support for village greens and their value to communities.
Encouragingly, he concluded ‘I have no proposals at all to amend the Commons Act in this way [ie as mentioned by Peter Black]. So, the registration under the Commons Act will continue as at present.’ Let’s hope so!