Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Westgate Village Green Public Enquiry Closes

Top field adjoining Ursuline Drive Westgate

After a torturous week of evidence where a formidable legal team headed by a barrister were fighting against the application to register this land in Westgate as a village green faced up to a team of law students from the Kent Law Clinic from the University of Kent.
It was obvious that the barrister was very skilled at cross examination however the students conducted themselves both professionally and courteously despite constant interruptions from  the barrister.
With these cases the registration of village greens which on the face of it looks fairly straightforward now relies on opinions of  the law lords on every point including trying to define what is a 'neighbourhood'. If you were to ask a 100 people you would probably get a 100 different definitions. An industry has now sprung up to fight applications to register village greens. The intentions of the Act by parliament have become ever more complicated and is now a tangled web of arguments.
I just hope that inspectors at public hearings can remain fair minded and ensure that proceedings are conducted on a level playing field in cases where applicants do not have the funds to engage an expensive legal team.
The hearing closed on Friday 22nd November and the inspector will write a report in December and recommendations will be made by the end of January 2014.
For those interested the law states:

Section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 enables any person to apply to a Commons Registration Authority to register land as a Village Green where it can be shown that:
‘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;

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