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The self-styled ‘greenest government ever’ has passed a law which will prevent communities from claiming their local open spaces as village greens and thus saving them from development.
Yesterday (25 April) the Growth and Infrastructure Act received royal assent, banning applications to register land as a green in England if it has been identified for development—even though it may have been identified secretly.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘This Act is a kick in the teeth for local communities wanting to protect their treasured local spaces and to continue to enjoy them for informal recreation. The government is tugging its forelock to developers. The Act is the antithesis of localism.
‘Government claims that the local green space designation in the National Planning Policy Framework is a substitute for registering land as a new green, but there is no guidance available as to what this is, or how it is designated. Unlike a village green, the local green space gives no right of recreation for the local people, nor does it guarantee that the land is protected in perpetuity. It is a shabby substitute.’
Meanwhile we urge communities to identify now any local land which would qualify as a village green which is not yet threatened by development. Such land must have been used for at least 20 years for informal recreation, without interruption or permission. They should apply to register the land as a green before it is threatened. Any applications for development land which were submitted before the Growth Act received royal assent will be processed.
Further information is here.