IT’S THE LAW: Town & Village Greens – They aren’t all green

Land which is registered as a Town or Village Green is subject to a number of legal restrictions. These will significantly interfere with any plans you might have to develop it, in fact, they will almost certainly stop those plans in their tracks.

The restrictions include:

  • It is a criminal offence to cause any damage to a green.
  • It is a criminal offence to undertake any act which interrupts the use or enjoyment of a green as a place for exercise and recreation.
  • It is a public nuisance (and so an offence) to build on a green (unless it’s done with a view to its better enjoyment).

So, whilst you might be allowed to put up a cricket pavilion, you are not going to be able to build any houses.

It is possible to carry out a search to check whether land is registered as a green. It won’t surprise you that as part of almost all conveyancing transactions we carry out that search. But, a clear result before you acquire a site doesn’t mean that you are out of the woods. If the land in question meets the requirements set out in s15 of the Commons Act 2006 it may be possible for someone to secure registration after your purchase.

Download the full Devonshires Briefing.

For further information, please contact Neil Toner, partner at Devonshires.

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