We publish a commentary for most decisions in the courts about town or village green registration cases. You can find a list of these cases below, together with a link to our commentary or to a report of the case on the website of the British and Irish Legal Information Institute where available.
Moorside Fields and Leach Grove Wood
R (on the application of Lancashire County Council) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and another
R (on the application of NHS Property Services Ltd) v Surrey County Council and another conjoined with
Key issues: The circumstances in which the concept of “statutory incompatibility” will defeat an application to register land as a town or village green where the land is held by a public authority for statutory purposes.
Leach Grove Wood, Leatherhead
R (on the application of NHS Property Services Ltd) v Surrey County Council and Jones
Key issues: Registration of land held by public body other than for public recreation (statutory incompatibility); whether council could depart from inspector’s conclusion on test of neighbourhood within a locality.
Moorside Fields, Lancaster
Lancashire County Council v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Bebbington
Key issues: Registration of land held by local authority and annexed to school: whether evidence held for education purposes; whether registration of education authority land incompatible with statutory purposes; definition of locality; whether residence of users must be distributed across locality (‘spread’)
Vowley View, Royal Wootton Bassett
Wiltshire Council v Cooper Estates Strategic Land Ltd and Gosnell and Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council
Key issues: Land owned by a local authority and annexed to a school could be registered as a town
green, as there was insufficient evidence that it was held for educational purposes. The
court also opined that, even if the evidence were sufficient, there was no fundamental
conflict between registration and the statutory purposes of the education authority. Overturned on appeal: see above
Meadow Triangle, Cambridge
R (on the application of St John’s College) v Cambridgeshire County Council and Davies
Key issues: The initial role of the commons registration authority on a s15 application to register a town or village green is to decide whether the application is duly made and therefore procedurally compliant with the regulatory requirements. The government’s guidance on these aspects was criticised (and redrafted inthe judgment).
Humpty Hill, Faringdon
R (on the application of Alloway and Pocock) v Oxfordshire County Council and Stewart
Key issues: This is a rolled-up hearing into an application for judicial review of the decision made by Oxfordshire County Council, the defendant and registration authority, to register an agricultural field of about 14 acres as a town and village green under section 15(2) of the Commons Act 2006.
West Beach, Newhaven
Newhaven Port & Properties Ltd v East Sussex County Council, Newhaven Town Council and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Key issues: The Supreme Court has reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal and ruled that the land at West Beach, Newhaven cannot be registered as a village green.
Helredale playing field
R (on the application of Barkas) v North Yorkshire County Council and Barkas
Key issues: Registration of land owned by local authority; land held in trust for recreation; implied licence or permission to use land; Beresford overturned
Coatham Common, Redcar
R (on the application of Lewis) v Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Persimmon Homes plc
Key issues: The Supreme Court has ruled that Coatham Common, Redcar is to be registered as a village green. The judgment was that ‘deference’ by local people to the landowner’s use of the land did not prevent their recreational use being as of right.
Trap Grounds, Oxford
Oxfordshire County Council v Oxford City Council and Robinson
Key issues: The key issues in this case were whether registration of land as a green, based on 20 years lawful sports and pastimes, gives the relevant inhabitants rights to indulge in lawful sports and pastimes on the land.
Sports Arena, Washington [Beresford]
R v City of Sunderland ex parte Beresford
Key issues: This case considered the meaning of the phrase ‘as of right’. The encouragement of the use of the land by the provision of benches and regular cutting of the grass reinforced, rather than undermined, the impression that local people were using the area ‘as of right’. [Overturned by Barkas]
Widmer Farm, Hazlemere
R (on the application of Laing Homes Ltd) v Buckinghamshire County Council and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Key issues: Laing Homes, which had bought the land in 1963 with a view to developing it for housing, applied to the court to quash Buckinghamshire County Council's decision to register the land on a number of grounds.
Ladydale Meadow, Leek
R (on the application of Alfred McAlpine Homes Ltd) v Staffordshire County Council
High Court 2003
Key issues: The judgement ruled that a registration authority could register a part of the land
for which an application was made, and that ‘significant’ is a matter of impression after analysing
The Glebe, Sunningwell
R v Oxfordshire County Council and others, ex parte Sunningwell Parish Council
Key issues: The judgment significantly changes the criteria by which registration authorities are required to determine applications to register town or village greens and defines ‘lawful sports and pastimes’ and ‘as of right’.