Government’s new attack on beleaguered green spaces

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Update:  On 28 January, the order was confirmed by both Houses, see below:

House of Commons debate

House of Lords debate

Read the confirmed order here.

The government has struck yet another blow at open spaces. On Tuesday 28 January parliamentary committees will be asked to rubber-stamp a set of measures which make it even harder for local people to register land as a village green.

Last April the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 took effect, outlawing the registration of greens in England where a ‘trigger event’ had occurred on the land, ie where an application for planning permission had been made, or the site had been identified for potential development in a draft development plan. This immediately prevented many eligible spaces from being recorded as greens. The government claimed, with little evidence, that people were registering land as a green to prevent development.

The Field at Purlewent Drive, Bath, registered as a green in 2013

The Field at Purlewent Drive, Bath, registered as a green in 2013

Now the government proposes to extend the list of trigger events, preventing registration of land which is subject to a draft local development order, a draft neighbourhood development order or a request for deemed planning permission.

Says Nicola Hodgson, our case officer: ‘We deplore the government’s renewed attack on our green spaces. The current trigger events have only been in place for nine months which is not long enough to assess the effect they are having, both on development and on local people. It is premature to bring in new measures, when there is no evidence of the need to do so.

‘The government brought in the earlier trigger events without proving that they were necessary; indeed its own figures showed that the number of applications to register land as greens had steadily declined from 2008 to 2011. There are no figures available since then.

‘This government is obsessed with development to the severe detriment of the public’s enjoyment of open spaces. These new measures are unfair and strike at the very heart of localism. We have called on MPs and peers to oppose them.’

The order will be debated on Tuesday 28 January in the Commons at 2.30pm (sixth delegated legislation committee, committee room 10) and the Lords at 3.30pm (Grand Committee).

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