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The Planning Inspectorate has approved an application from Barmby Moor Parish Council to deregister part of the village green, near Pocklington in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The parish council wants to allow a private vehicular-access across the green to enable residential development to take place to the north.
As the leading organisation concerned with the protection of village greens, we are notified of all such applications, and we were the sole objector. The Planning Inspectorate acted on behalf of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in determining the application under section 16 of the Commons Act 2006.
The parish council made a similar application last year, but then also offered replacement land. This was rejected as the inspector agreed with us that the replacement land was inadequate, since it was a playground which already had public access.
The council then reapplied, without offering the replacement land. It argued that, since the land to be deregistered was less than 200 square metres in area, it was not required to offer replacement land, and that it was in the public interest to remove the land from the register to enable the development to take place.
We pointed out that even where the land to be deregistered is less than 200 square metres, the environment secretary usually expects exchange land to be offered. Such land should be offered in this case and should not be land which was already open to the public.
The inspector, Barney Grimshaw, took a different view from the previous inspector. He considered that the deregistration of the existing green, which is part of the highway verge to the north of Main Street, Barmby Moor, would allow residential development of land to the north to take place. Furthermore, the developer of the new houses would pay £75,000 to the parish council for an easement, which would be available to fund projects. He considered this to be in the interests of the neighbourhood, one of the tests to be satisfied.
He did not consider that the proposed deregistration would have a significant effect on public access.
We are deeply disappointed at this decision. We do not consider that the ability to undertake development on adjoining land justifies the deregistration of part of the village green without the offer of suitable exchange land.
Village greens are immensely precious assets for the community and should not be chopped up by access roads. We believe that the community of Barmby Moor will suffer a loss and we are sad that this is going ahead.