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The government has struck a further blow to open spaces. We are dismayed that it has introduced additional measures which restrict the ability of local people to register land as a town or village green.
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 contains new ‘trigger events’ which prevent the registration of land as town or village green in England when a local planning authority publishes its intention to grant planning permission in principle, for instance by registering it as brownfield land.
The government has already restricted the opportunity to register land which is threatened with development, in a series of attacks on green spaces.
The first was in the Growth and Infrastructure Act in April 2013 which outlawed registration where a planning application had been made or the site had been identified for potential development in a draft development plan. Then, in February 2014 it added further ‘trigger events’, preventing registration of land which is subject to a draft local development order, a draft neighbourhood development order or a request for deemed planning consent.
The further restrictions, introduced on 27 March 2017, make it even more difficult to register land.
Says Nicola Hodgson, one of our case officers: ‘We deplore the government’s continued attack on our green spaces. People often do not know of these planning threats and by the time they learn about them it is too late to apply to register a green.
‘Local people naturally want to protect their customary enjoyment of green spaces for informal recreation, and registering land as a green is a good way to do this. But the rug is being pulled from under their feet — literally.
‘However, the situation in Wales is different—there are not yet any trigger events restricting the registration of greens, although some will be introduced soon by the Planning (Wales) Act 2016. We urge communities in Wales to identify now any land which they believe qualifies as a green and to apply to their council to register it before it’s too late.’