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Local Councils

Whether you are just starting out as a clerk or councillor, or have been in post for some time, keeping up to date with new legislation or best practice is essential to perform your role effectively.

The Open Spaces Society is pleased to offer these practical courses for clerks and councillors to enable them to deal effectively with a range of issues relating to common land and village greens. These courses may also meet your CPD requirements.

“These training courses are a very good initiative”
(attendee at association of local councils training session)

 Local councils have an important role in protecting and managing greens and have an opportunity to register new ones.

Common Land 

Common land is unique and steeped in history.  Although rights still exist today, they are not as exercised as they once were.  There are 1.3 million acres of common land in England and Wales, registered in over 9,000 separate units covering all types of landscape and habitat.  A staggering 88% of all commons in England have a national or international designation – for wildlife, landscape or archaeology.

 Our training course will provide:

 an introduction to commons and why they are important

  • relevant legislation
  • works on common land and exemptions
  • process for exchange of common land
  • how to take action against unlawful works
  • good practice for developing ideas for the management of commons based on the Open Spaces Society’s pioneering publication, Finding Common Ground.
  • Practical solutions to problems such as car parking, encroachment and vegetation.
  • Exchange of ideas on good practice

“Good length with plenty of time for questions”
(attendee at association of local councils training session)


 Village Greens

 There are some 3,650 village greens in England that come in all shapes and sizes. The expression ‘town or village green’ has long been used to describe land, rural or urban, over which the inhabitants of a particular locality hold customary recreational rights.  The terms ‘town green’ and ‘village green’ are legally identical, only distinguishing where the green is situated.

Village greens are a topical subject with the recent changes in the law brought about by the Growth & Infrastructure Act 2013, and the National Planning Policy Framework’s reference to green spaces.

Our training course will provide:

  • an introduction to village greens and why they are important
  • relevant legislation
  • the role of local councils in relation to village greens
  1. what can and cannot be done to protect and manage them
  2. voluntary registration
  • How to register land as a new green using the evidence process
  1. the steps to be followed
  2. potential pitfalls to watch out for
  • The Growth & Infrastructure Act 2013 and what it means for new greens in England
  • The National Planning Policy Framework’s reference to green spaces
  • Exchange of ideas on good practice