Plans to reform the registration system for town and village greens have been announced by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Ministers have acknowledged that village greens play an important part in community life and England’s heritage and emphasise that their proposals will not prevent the protection of any existing registered greens nor bring the designation of new greens to an end.
However, the Coalition is concerned that some registration applications have been used to hinder legitimate development of schools, health centres and other much needed services, even on brownfield land.
The administration has pointed to the fact that a significant number of applications to register town and village greens are associated with development proposals. Once registered, greens cannot be developed, irrespective of any planning permission or allocation in a local plan.
The proposals are designed to improve the operation of the current registration system, in the process reducing the burden on both local authorities and landowners.
Defra has said the reforms should reduce the workload facing local authorities, allowing them to deal more speedily with applications for sites which remain eligible. Changes to the existing registration system may also encourage landowners to provide new sites for access, the department argued.
It said the reforms, plus the planned new Local Green Space designation, would ensure a strong level of protection for green areas and would enable local communities to exercise greater control over decisions that make a significant difference to their lives.
Interested parties have until 17 October to submit their views on the proposal.
28 July 2011