Grant a Green
On 26 April we launched our Grant a Green campaign, calling on local councils in England and Wales voluntarily to register their open spaces as town or village greens.
Registration will give local people rights of recreation on the land and protect it from development.
Now is the time 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 that 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 In Wales such spaces are under threat from outdated and inadequate planning guidance.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, and other public-spirited landowners can make a lasting gift for their communities by registering land as greens.
Registration is straightforward, and the commons registration authority (county or unitary council) makes no charge for it. The applicant must complete form 44 (or CA9 for those in the English ‘pioneer’ areas of Blackburn with Darwen, Cornwall, Cumbria, Devon, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, and North Yorkshire).
The form is sent to the commons registration authority which must merely be satisfied that the applicant is legally entitled to apply to register the land. The applicant must: obtain the written consent of any leaseholder or charge holder; include a map and description of the land; and identify the area where the local people who use, or will use, the land reside. This last is necessary because, once the land is registered as a green, those people will have a right to the land for recreation.
The applicant must also confirm (in a statutory declaration on form 44) land ownership, and the necessary consents. An application cannot, if properly made, be rejected but the authority can ask for further evidence of ownership.
Voluntary registrations by councils include those at Larkfield in Kent, Scorton in North Yorkshire, Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, and Pendle in Lancashire (the last thanks to our vice-president, the late Tony Greaves). We feel sure that there are more—please tell us if you have registered land or are planning to do so.