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Common land and town or village greens

The Commons Registration Act 1965 (CRA 1965) provides for the registration of:

  • Land in England or Wales which is common land or a town or village green rights of common over such land
  • Persons claiming to be or found to be owners of such land or becoming the owners thereof by virtue of the Act

Parts of the Commons Act 2006, which supersedes the CRA 1965, have now come into force. Information about common land and village greens, including existing and proposed legislation, can be found on the Defra website.

Registering land as town or village green

Section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 allows for the registration of new town or village greens. Anyone may apply to us to add land to the Register of Town or Village Greens. Under Section 15 (1) land can become Town or Village Green through 20 years use as of right by the inhabitants of the locality or of a neighbourhood within the locality. ‘As of right’ means without force, secrecy or permission and without the use being challenged in any way. The ‘locality’ and/or ‘neighbourhood’ must be defined by the application. The locality should be a legally recognised entity such as a civil parish or electoral division. A neighbourhood is more difficult to define. It does not need to be a legally recognised area but it should be more than just a line on the map - the area chosen must be sufficiently cohesive e.g. a village or a housing estate.

The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 has made a number of significant changes to the law on registering new town and village greens under the Commons Act 2006.

Section 16 of the 2013 Act inserted new Section 15C and Schedule 1A into the 2006 Act, which exclude the right to apply for the registration of land in England as a town or village green where a trigger event has occurred in relation to the land. The right to apply for registration of the land as a green remains excluded unless and until a terminating event occurs in relation to the land. Trigger and terminating events are set out in Schedule 1A to the 2006 Act and broadly relate to whether land is identified for potential development in the planning system.

The period of grace, where recreational use of the land as of right has ceased before an application was made, has been reduced from three years to one year;

Under Section 15 (8) a landowner can apply to voluntarily register part of his/her land as a Town or Village Green. Applications of either sort should be made on Form 44, available below. For further information please contact:

Address:

Rights of Way & Access
Planning and Environment
County Hall
Walton Street
Aylesbury
HP20 1UY

Telephone: 01296 395000

Searching the registers

We maintain the register and process common land and village green searches. A Common Land and Village Green search will identify Common Land and Village Green registered over a particular area of land that you are interested in.

Request a Common Land and Village Green search - £11.20

The register entry and the map of Common Land and Village green are also available.

Request a copy of the Common Land and Village Green register - £30

From the 4 July 2016, additional questions not included on the Con29 form will be £7.50 per question.

Corrective Applications under Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006

As of 15 December 2014, applications can be made under section 19(2)(a) and paragraphs 6-9 of Schedule 2 of the Commons Act 2006 so as to correct mistakes made in the Common Land and/or the Town or Village Green Registers. This will allow for the removal of buildings/land that was incorrectly registered. Evidence will need to be submitted with the application to show why it is believed a mistake has been made.

Where a landowner considers that the mistake was made by Buckinghamshire County Council as the Commons Registration Authority (CRA), applications should be made under section 19(2)(a) Commons Act 2006. Such applications are free of charge.

Where the considered mistake has been made by another party and not the CRA, then an application should be made under paragraphs 6-9 of Schedule 2 Commons Act 2006; there is a two-stage fee applicable to such applications and this is set out below:

  • Initial payment of £1445 to be received with the application. If the application is straight forward and no objections/representations are received, then no further payment will be required.
  • If objections/representations are received from parties with a legal interest in the land or if the County Council has an interest in the land, then the matter will be referred to the Secretary of State for determination either by a Public Hearing or a Public Inquiry. A further fee of £1120 will need to be paid and alongside that, the Secretary of State will charge for their time. A schedule of their charges can be found at schedule 6 in The Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014.

Or

  • If objections/representations are received from any other party, then the County Council will hold a non-statutory Public Inquiry. A further free of £1180 will need to be paid, and additional to that any independent inspector/barrister fees that are incurred. An estimate of costs will be presented to you and this will need to be paid prior to an Inquiry being organised.

Guidance has been issued by DEFRA to those considering making an application with all of the relevant application forms listed. It is strongly recommended you read this guidance and seek independent advice prior to making an application and to determine which section of the legislation is relevant to your need. The onus will be on you as the applicant to provide evidence to substantiate your claim that the land was incorrectly registered.

For further information, please email us at row@buckscc.gov.uk.

Access land

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 gives people new rights to walk on areas of open country and registered common land. For further information, visit the Countryside Access website.

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