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Town and Village Greens: new trigger and terminating events in force

The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 (GIA2013) amended the Commons Act 2006 (CA2006) to give landowners greater protection from having their land designated as a town or village green (TVG).

The Commons (Town and Village Green)(Trigger and Terminating Events) Order 2014 has now come into force to implement certain provisions in the CA2006

Land given TVG status is protected by long-standing legislation that restricts the landowner’s ability to develop and use the land.  It effectively becomes worthless to the landowner.

Whilst it was originally envisaged that the legislation would be used to protect cherished community spaces used by local inhabitants for ‘the exercise of lawful sports and pastimes’, it has become increasingly common for this legislation to be used purely as a way of preventing development.

Anyone can apply to register land as a TVG where “a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood within a locality, have indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the land for a period of at least 20 years” (section 15 Commons Act 2006).

The new provisions, that are now in force in England only, remove the right to apply to register land as a TVG once a specific ‘trigger event’ relating to the development of the land occurs.

Where development of land is proposed or permitted under the planning system, or the land has been allocated for development in a draft local or neighbourhood development plan, the right to register the land as a TVG is now restricted.

Each ‘trigger event’ has a corresponding ‘terminating event’ at which time the right to apply for registration becomes exercisable again.

The coming into force of this new legislation will be particularly welcomed by developer landowners.  If a ‘trigger event’ relating to the development of the land has occurred, this could save them the time and expense of defending  an application for TVG status which has not been made to protect cherished community spaces, but with the primary purpose of preventing development.

Landowners in England are also reminded of the new procedure whereby they can deposit a statement and map with the Commons Registration Authority to prevent local inhabitants from becoming eligible to make an application for a TVG.

For more information please contact Hannah Taylor on 01789 206107 or by email.

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