Today we launch our Grant A Green campaign. The society is to urge local councils in England and Wales voluntarily to register their open spaces as town or village greens, to protect them from development and give local people rights of recreation there.
It is more important now than ever to secure our green spaces. Not only have the restrictions on movement meant that people have discovered that their local open spaces are essential for their health and sanity, but also those spaces are under unprecedented threat.
The Westminster government is intent on destroying the planning system, and green spaces are in the firing line for development. In Wales, such spaces are under threat from outdated and inadequate planning guidance. Landowning local councils can set an example to others, and provide a gift for their communities, by registering their land as greens.
There is a guide to voluntary registration on our website and there is no charge for applications, which are made to county or unitary councils’ commons registration departments, under section 15(8) of the Commons Act 2006.
Says Nicola Hodgson, one of the society’s case officers: ‘This is the moment for local councils to set an example and voluntarily register their land as town or village greens. In the face of enormous threats to our precious open spaces this is the best way of ensuring that they can be enjoyed for ever by local people.’
Any landowner can dedicate land as a town or village green, under section 15(8) of the Commons Act 2006. Once the land is dedicated, local people have rights of informal recreation there, and the land is protected from encroachment and development for ever more under section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857 and section 29 of the Commons Act 1876.