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We are disappointed at the tone and content of the consultation from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the registration of new town and village greens. Read more here.
Says our case officer, Nicola Hodgson: ‘The basis for the consultation, that there is an abuse of the legislation, is contrary to research provided to Defra in 2009 which found no evidence that the current system is flawed.
‘The stated aim of the consultation is to “effect a better balance between protecting high-quality green space valued by local communities and enabling legitimate development to occur where it is most appropriate”. This appears to undermine the system which allows registration of local people’s rights to use land for lawful sports and pastimes when they have used it for over 20 years.
‘We are dismayed that Defra’s options include introducing an additional character test on top of the existing requirements, charging a fee and excluding any land proposed for development.
‘We had already submitted to ministers our proposals for limited changes to the guidance and regulations to speed up and improve the registration process. We shall continue to argue that there is no case for major reform, which would be contrary to the public interest,’ Nicola argues.
We are seeking the views of our members and will be submitting a robust response to Defra.