Pulling the trigger on village greens

25 October 2018

Cooper Estates Strategic Land Ltd v Wiltshire Council and Richard Gosnell and Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council.

This is the first court case to pronounce on the meaning of ‘trigger events’ (as defined in section 15C of, and schedule 1A to, the Commons Act 2006) and has worrying implications. Such an event, which includes the grant of planning permission or the designation of land for development in a local plan, prevents registration of land.

The judge held that a trigger event had occurred even though the land was not identified for development specifically by a line on a plan and that, if it falls within a general area of the planning authority’s area to which potential development is directed, that is sufficient.

If a general designation of this kind is sufficient to trigger the exclusion of the right to apply to register a green, much of England—and soon Wales—will have been placed out of bounds to applications.

Wiltshire Council has sought leave to appeal against this worrying decision.