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We are delighted that the Court of Appeal today overturned a High Court judgment, so that Clayton Fields at Birkby, Huddersfield, will now be registered as a village green.
The 6.5 acres of sloping, partly-wooded, green space was first registered as a green in 1997, under the Commons Registration Act 1965. The registration was overturned in the High Court on a legal point that the people who used the land did not come from a locality(1).
The society has supported the Clayton Fields Action Group in its campaign to register the land, and provided funding to assist it.
Says Nicola Hodgson, our case officer: ‘It is cheering that the High Court decision has been reversed and local people’s rights to use the land for recreation has been reinstated.’
Adds Mike Hardy, secretary of the Clayton Fields Action Group: ‘We are absolutely delighted with this judgment which will retain this enormously valuable local resource for future generations.
‘Local people enjoy it for a wide range of informal recreational activities, including sledging and events such as barbecues and firework displays. It is rich in wildlife and the bottom part is fairly heavily wooded. The boundary has a significant number of large, mature native trees, popular with children who have built tree-houses and erected rope-swings in them.
‘A large new development is nearing completion close to the bottom of the field and it is wonderful to know that the children who move there will now have a high-quality local space for recreation,’ says Mike.
The owner of the land, Paddico (267) Ltd, may apply to appeal against this decision in the Supreme Court.
1. To satisfy the criteria for registering land under section 22(1) of the Commons Registration Act 1965, the applicants must provide evidence that the people who use the land for lawful sports and pastimes live in a defined area known to law (ie within a parish boundary or electoral ward) known as ‘a locality’.