Securing Open Spaces

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We deal with almost 1000 cases a year assisting communities, groups and individuals in protecting their local spaces and paths in all parts of England and Wales. Can you help us by joining as a member?

Our case officer, Nicola Hodgson, advises how you can win open space as part of development in England – Local Green Space (LGS) does not exist in Wales

 Town or village green (TVG)

Registration of land under section 15(2) Commons Act 2006.

Anyone may apply to the commons registration authority to register land as TVG if a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or neighbourhood within a locality, have used the land as of right (without secrecy force or permission) for lawful sports and pastimes for 20 years. An application must be made within one year  of cessation of or challenge to use. The process relies on evidence of use from local people.

Registration of land under section 15(8) Commons Act 2006.

The owner of land may apply to the commons registration authority voluntarily to register the land as TVG. No evidence of use is required.

Local Green Space (LGS)

National Planning Policy Framework 2018 (paragraph 100), England only.

The LGS designation is an alternative means of protecting land through the planning system. It enables local communities to secure green spaces of local importance. Sites may be designated for a variety of reasons including their setting and nature conservation benefits. The land must be in reasonable proximity to the community it serves and must not be extensive (not defined).

Barnoldswick Green, Pendle, Lancashire voluntarily registered 2011

Local communities can identify LGS through the local and neighbourhood plan process. Land designated as LGS is protected in the same way as green belt. New development on such land is ruled out except in special circumstances.


The registration of land as TVG is superior to that of LGS because it gives permanent protection and ensures local people have the right to use the land for recreation.

The TVG is protected, under section 29 Commons Act 1876 and section 12 Inclosure Act 1857, from enclosure or damage. Nothing can be done there which interferes with the public’s use of the land, unless it is for the better enjoyment of the green.

LGS is inferior because land can only be designated during the planning process and where this would not undermine investment in homes, jobs or essential services. The designation only lasts for the length of the plan and development can still take place if special circumstances are satisfied. The designation brings no new access rights.

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