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We are delighted that 2.9 acres of green space and woodland known as Castle Acre Green, Norton, in the village of Mumbles near Swansea, has been registered as a village green by the commons registration authority of the City of Swansea. This means that local people have established their legal right to continue to use the land for recreation in perpetuity.
The Friends of Castle Acre Green, a member of the Open Spaces Society, applied to register the land as a village green in September 2012. The site had been bought by Swansea Council, as part of a larger area of 10.32 acres in 1965. Originally the 2.9 acres was mainly designated for highway construction and much of the remainder of the 10.32 acres was subsequently used for allotments.
Land can be registered as a village green if local people can show that they have used it for informal recreation for 20 years, without asking permission or being challenged.
The landowner, the City and County of Swansea, objected to the application to register the land and the council held a three-day public inquiry in December 2014. The inspector, barrister Alun Alesbury, recommended in March 2015 that the land should be registered as a village green because local people had proved their use of the land for recreation ‘as of right’ (ie without being secretive, using force, or having permission) for a period of at least 20 years.
Initially, Mr Alesbury’s recommendation was challenged by the City and County of Swansea but, in a supplementary report in September 2015, the inspector reiterated his original conclusions and recommendation that the land should be registered.
On 13 October 2015 the Planning Committee of the City and County of Swansea accepted the inspector’s recommendation that the land should be registered as a village green. It was formally entered onto the register of town and village greens on 15 October.
Says Robert Leek, chair of the Friends of Castle Acre Green: ‘We are delighted that our legitimate claim for the registration of this iconic site as a village green has finally been recognised by the City and County of Swansea. The land has been used for recreation by the residents of Norton and the surrounding area for many years, and now it will be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.’