We defend village greens in Welsh Government inquiry

7 November 2014

We have spoken out in defence of village greens in Wales which, we say, are essential to the health and well-being of the Welsh population.

We have sent evidence to the Welsh Environment and Sustainability Committee which is inquiring into the principles of the Planning (Wales) Bill. We are concerned that the Welsh Government proposes to prevent people from registering land as a village green where it is threatened with development.

In our evidence we robustly defend the current system which allows local people, where they have used land for 20 years for recreation, to register it as a town or village green. Once registered the land is protected from development.

Says Nicola Hodgson, our case officer: ‘The proposals in the bill will prohibit the registration of land as a town or village green where that land has been identified for development. They also enable landowners to deposit statements with the registration authority, challenging people’s use of the land. Once the notices have been deposited, people have only one year in which to gather evidence and apply to register the site.’

The society is concerned that these proposals strike at the heart of local communities, preventing them from securing land they have long enjoyed. It has presented an alternative to these draconian measures which would help improve the registration system and reduce delays.

‘There is scant evidence to justify the proposals in the bill and we shall give oral evidence to the Welsh Government’s committee, urging that the plans are reconsidered,’ Nicola concludes.