Developers must heed common land and public paths

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‘Developers must be aware of registered common land and public paths on their land before they finalise their plans—or they will have to face big hold-ups.’

This is our response to the Penfold Review of Non-Planning Consents (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills).  The aim of the review is ‘to explore whether the process for obtaining non-planning consents is delaying or discouraging businesses from investing’.

Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘It’s a great pity that this review is all about making it easier to carry out developments, when such developments should be planned to cause minimum impact on places, spaces and landscape which the public holds dear.

‘However, before any development can occur which affects registered common land, the developer needs to obtain consent from the Secretary of State for Environment, food and Rural Affairs, or provide satisfactory land in exchange’.

‘Similarly if the plans affect public rights of way, the developer may need to apply to move those paths, by applying to the local authority for a legal order.

‘In both cases, if there are objections there are likely to be delays while a public inquiry is held.  So it is in the developer’s interest to check early on whether his plans affect common land or public paths and, if so, to consult all those with an interest with the aim of reaching agreement before going into the formal process.  That will speed things up considerably,’ Kate concludes.

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