Individuals/ residents’ groups/ NGOs regularly instruct Harrison Grant to assist them in the legal issues that arise on village green registration.
For example, local residents may wish to protect an area of land by registering the land as a town or village green. The law in this area is much more complex than it need be and can be a minefield for all parties including the people applying to register the land as a village green, the landowner objecting to the registration, the commons registry authority and the inspector. Much can and indeed does go wrong!
The individual or group applying to register the land will need advice on the pitfalls of registration so that their application is in a good shape for the public inquiry that will follow.
If a village green inspector refuses the application to register land as a town or village green, then the applicants will need to consider whether that decision should be challenged by judicial review to quash the inspector’s decision.
A village green inspector might accept the application to register land as a town or village green but this decision is then challenged by way of judicial review, so that the applicants will need to be represented as an ‘Interested Party’ in the judicial review to protect their position.
Susan Ring has acted for residents in the Supreme Court in R (Barkas) v North Yorkshire CC  UKSC 31 where the issue was whether local authority land is capable of being registered as a town green under the Commons Act 2006.
Susan won the case of R (Goodman) v SEFRA  EWHC 2576 for local resident Ms Goodman who was seeking to register land in Exeter to protect it from road development. The case resulted in reducing the scope for local authorities to rely on ‘implied’ appropriation and implied permission for recreational use so as to defeat a town green application. In that case, a second inspector accepted the application to register but this is now being challenged by Exeter City Council although with no success to date.
Our experts acted for residents in Lancashire where their application to register a village green was accepted by an inspector; but that inspector’s decision was then challenged by Lancashire County Council. So far the County Council’s challenge has been unsuccessful in the High Court and a decision is awaited on their application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.