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We welcome the decision of Hertfordshire County Council, the commons registration authority, to grant our applications to register as common two pieces of land about two miles south-east of Walkern near Stevenage.
These commons failed to be finally registered during the three-year period allowed by the Commons Registration Act 1965. Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006 re-opened the door for their registration provided they remain today ‘open, uncultivated and unoccupied’.
Under the 1965 Act, Walmans Green (approximately 0.5 hectare) and Clay End Common (approximately 0.4 hectare) were provisionally registered as common land. In the face of objections, the applicant withdrew the application relating to Walmans Green, and the commons registration authority cancelled the proposal relating to Clay End Common. However, under paragraph 4 of schedule 2 to the Commons Act 2006, it is possible to apply for re-registration if there is evidence that the land was waste land of a manor. The society’s applications provided such evidence for both pieces of land.
Walmans Green and Clay End Common are small sites, but nevertheless are welcome additions to the commons register, in a landscape distinguished by small commons of varying shape, physical character, and extent. Their registration will also, in due course, give people the right to walk there.
Says Frances Kerner, our commons re-registration officer who carried out the research and submitted the applications: ‘I am delighted that, as a consequence of registration, the public will now be able to gain legal access to the land and enjoy its beauty. Small commons are a feature of lowland England and, like their grander relatives in the north-west and south-west of England, they too are cherished.
‘We thank the Walkern Hall Estate, the owner of both pieces of land, for considering our application in a positive manner.’