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We are delighted that the Welsh Government has rejected an application from Pembrokeshire County Council to extinguish the common rights on 3.78 acres of Kingsmoor Common, Kilgetty.(1) The common is owned by the council.
The council applied, under the Dyfed Act 1987, to remove the common rights from 1.89 acres to build a new retail store, and 1.89 acres for extending a gypsy and traveller site. We objected because the proposals were contrary to the public interest as they would prevent local people from being able to enjoy the land for informal recreation. We argued that land should be provided in exchange so that the stock of common land was not diminished.
The Minister for Housing and Regeneration rejected the application because the extinguishment of common rights ‘would reduce the area of common available to the public for enjoyment as an open space and for air and exercise’. Although the council had argued that the land proposed for the food store was overgrown and not used, the minister considered that it could be beneficial for public use if it was cleared, for example through a suitable grazing regime.
Says Nicola Hodgson, our case officer: ‘This is an excellent decision and we are delighted that the minister has upheld the society’s objection and agreed that loss of the common would be detrimental to the public interest.
‘Common land is of immense value for public enjoyment and should be preserved not built on.’
1. Kingsmoor Common is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council. The council gave the Co-operative Group outline planning permission to build a new food-store on the common. The common is regulated under section 65 of the Dyfed Act 1987 by which up to 15 acres of the common may be used for purposes other than provision of open-air recreation, upon resolution of the council confirmed by order of the Welsh Government. A resolution had previously been made and approved for 11.22 acres, leaving a balance of 3.78 acres. The council was applying to the Welsh Government for consent to extinguish the rights on the remaining 3.78 acres of the 15-acre allocation.