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Further Threat to Green Spaces

August 21, 2013






The Open Spaces Society,(1) Britain’s oldest national conservation body, has objected to the government’s plans to make it even more difficult to register land as a town or village green(2) in England, following the harsh restrictions already imposed by the Growth and Infrastructure Act earlier this year.


The society has responded to a consultation by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in which the departments propose to introduce new restrictions on the opportunity to register land as a town or village green.


The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 outlaws applications to register land as a green in England when that land is threatened with development.  The government now proposes to extend this restriction to land which is subject to a Local Development Order, a Neighbourhood Development Order and Transport and Works Act Orders (ie for infrastructure projects). 


The Open Spaces Society has objected to these extensions.  The society’s case officer, Nicola Hodgson, says: ‘These restrictions will prohibit valid applications to register land as a green, thereby depriving the community of its rights of recreation there, and putting the land at risk of development. 


‘The consultation paper refers to the benefits and cost savings to businesses and the commons registration authorities, but there is no reference of the adverse effect on the community.  The tenuous concept of localism will be completely destroyed.


‘These proposals are purely about saving money and putting development first—regardless of the cost to the environment and to communities.  As a result, local people will lose their valued open spaces.


‘We have called on the government to abandon these further damaging changes to the law of town and village greens,’ Nicola concludes.



Notes for editors


1.         The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body.  It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and people’s right to enjoy them.


2.         Land can be registered as a town or village green if it has been used by local people for ‘lawful sports and pastimes’ (ie informal recreation) for 20 years freely and openly.  Once registered the land is protected from development by nineteenth-century legislation. 




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