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Common Land and Village Green

What is Common Land? 

There is around 550,00 hectares of registered common land in England and Wales, accounting of 4% of total land. The Countryside Rights of Way Act grants legal right of the public access (on foot) over nearly all common land. 

Common land is land that is in private rather than public ownership, and rights of access are only by certain individuals who live in a certain areas or properties. These rights may include:

  • Walking
  • Picknicking
  • Bird watching
 
You can’t:

  • Camp on common land
  • Light a fire or have a barbecue
  • Hold a festival or other event without permission

 

Town and Village Greens

A Town or Village Green is usually land that is used by the local community for sports and pastimes for a period of at least 20 years. Unlike common land, there is no general right of public access over village greens; this is reserved for use by local residents.

A village green may be privately owned, although a number are owned by the local parish council.

 

Registering a village green

The Commons Act allows applications to be made to register land as a new village green. You will need to show that the land in question has been used:

  • for a period of at least 20 years
  • for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes
  • 'as of right' (for example, without force, secrecy or permission)
  • by the inhabitants of a locality, or a neighbourhood within a locality.

Alternatively, a landowner may register land as a new village green, in this case, it is not necessary to demonstrate a set period of use.

Application for the registration of land as a town or village green is currently required by the submission of Form 44 available from www.gov.uk Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

 

Common Land and Village Register

Medway Council are responsible for maintaining the register of common land and the register of town or village greens. You can apply for an official search of the register by downing our easy search form and selecting Q22 from the Optional enquiries. Please send a copy of the plan showing the area to be searched.

 

Where to send your application

Local Land Charges

Gun Wharf

Dock Road

Chatham ME4 4TR

01634 332 733

DX 140142 CHATHAM 8

landcharges@medway.gov.uk

For further information about common land, town and village greens and public rights of way we recommend you visit www.gov.uk.

 

Landowner statements

Section 15A of the Commons Act 2006 allows a landowner to deposit a statement and map which will bring to an end any period of recreational use 'as of right' over land to which the statement applies.

An application to deposit a statement and map should be made by completing Form CA16.

More information on the deposit of statements, maps and declarations under Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 contact:

Local Land Charges

Gun Wharf

Dock Road

Chatham ME4 4TR

landcharges@medway.gov.uk

DX 140142 CHATHAM 8

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