Monday, 12 November 2012

Village Green Law Government to Pull Teeth out of Legislation

Duncan Down Whitstable

A Question of Balance

The government is about to pass legislation to stop vexatious applications to register land as a village green. This will mean that the balance of power will swing towards developers wishing to build on land which is open space enjoyed by local people.

The current legislation has saved valuable open spaces that would have been lost forever. However it has to be admitted that there have been a few vexatious applications that have caused legitimate developments problems.

The problem now will be that if legislation is changed it could open the doors to a loss of many areas of open space so important to the well being of local communities.

In many cases applicants find themselves up against the powerful forces of big business that have only profit as their motive. The current legislation gives local communities the power to fight back.

You don't know what you've lost until its gone.

Often areas used for informal recreation are not under threat until either a council wants to dispose of them or a developer wants to build on them. When this has occurred a Village Green Application has been the only way to save these valuable open spaces. The problem with the proposed changes to legislation, if I understand them, is that if a planning application has been submitted then the site in question cannot be subject to an application for a village green. Now this is thwart with danger as it would be so easy to submit planning applications without local people having prior notice. Would it not be the case that new Localisation Bill will be of no use as it will not have any teeth to stop unsuitable developments?
The government should consider very carefully any changes to the act which in most cases has served local communities well. Yes by all means consider the vexatious applications but let us put the onus of proof on those who are opposing an application.  Let us hope common sense prevails.

For more information why not check out the Open Spaces Society Website follow link

Local applications

Land in Westgate is currently subject to an application.

Land Adjacent to the car park on Westbrook Lower Promenade was registered as a Town Green in 2010.

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