This evening I spoke at the Milton Keynes Local Access Forum about the government’s threat to town and village greens.
I said that it’s vital for communities to claim their town and village greens now, before the government’s Growth and Infrastructure Bill stops them from doing so.
Local people can apply to register land as a town or village green if they have used it for 20 years, for informal recreation, without being stopped or asking permission. Once registered, the land is protected from development.
The Growth and Infrastructure Bill is a developer’s charter. It aims to prevent local communities from registering land as a town or village green if there is a planning application pending or it has been earmarked for development in a local or neighbourhood plan—even though the plan has not yet been subject to public consultation.
Furthermore, as soon as the Act takes effect, no one can make an application to register land already subject to a planning application or shown in a local plan. So the Act immediately cuts off the community’s chance to save their space.
This is a pernicious and oppressive measure, introduced to stop so-called ‘vexatious’ applications to register greens. In fact, very few applications are made purely to stop development. In most cases local people have good evidence of use but do not realise they need to protect their cherished open space until it is threatened.
This is what you need to do.
- Write to your MP urging him or her to oppose clause 13 in the Growth and Infrastructure Bill which aims to stop people from registering land as a green;
- Identify any land which local people have used and enjoyed for 20 years, without being stopped or asking permission, and apply to register it as a town or village green before the Growth and Infrastructure Bill is enacted.
It’s time for communities to claim their spaces.