Wales apes England in changing law to destroy village greens

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The society is dismayed that the Welsh Government proposes to copy England’s law and boost developers in destroying village greens.

The Welsh Government in its Planning Bill, published today (6 October), copies England’s Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013. It prohibits the registration of land as a town or village green where it has been identified for development.

The government also plans to enable landowners to deposit statements with the registration (unitary) authority, challenging people’s use of the land for recreation.

A new village green at Talbont, Ceredigion which could not have been registered under the new Planning Bill

A new village green at Talybont, Ceredigion which could not have been registered under the proposed Planning Bill

At present, local people can apply to register land as a green if they have enjoyed it for 20 years for informal recreation, without being stopped or given permission. Once registered, the land is protected from development.

Says Nicola Hodgson, case officer for the Open Spaces Society: ‘In England greens are now vulnerable to development and we are dismayed that Wales wants to put its precious green spaces under similar threat. These proposals strike at the heart of local communities, preventing them from securing the land they have long enjoyed. Many people won’t even be aware that land is threatened with development until it is too late to save it.

‘Our members wrote to their AMs to express concern about the proposals. The Welsh Government is ignoring the voice of the Welsh people.

‘We are particularly disappointed that the planning minister Carl Sargeant has dismissed the proposals we presented to him in person, to streamline and speed up greens-registration without prejudicing local people or changing the law. We showed him that his so-called evidence of the need to change the law was spurious.

‘However, it is still early days and we shall strenuously fight these pernicious measures,’ Nicola declared.Examples of greens which have not yet been registered and are threatened with development include:

  • Trefforest, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Cae Glas, Kingsland, Holyhead
  • Land at Abergele, Conwy

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