UK: Village Green Problem Solved?

Last Updated: 19 August 2011
Article by Roy Pinnock and David Cox

The UK Government is seeking views from those affected by the current Town and Village Green regime on proposals for radical change to the law to facilitate development.

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published options for reform of the Town and Village Green (TVG) regime at the end of July that were trailed in the House of Lords debate on the Localism Bill. SNR Denton will be responding to the consultation in October and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your experiences and views so that they can be reflected in the suggestions we make to clarify and improve the proposals.

The consultation document can be downloaded here.

Some of the background issues are covered in our legal update columns for Planning Magazine on emerging law and suggested reform: March 2010 and July 2011.

Reform Overdue

Town and Village Greens are an important part of our history, and deserve protection. Unfortunately, the legislation that protects them was poorly thought through and TVG applications have become a weapon in the hands of those seeking to delay planning applications, with a number of spurious but costly applications being made. There is a general acceptance that the criteria and procedures for registration need to be improved.

The proposed reforms reflect some, although not all, of the changes to the Localism Bill and others we have lobbied for on behalf of clients and through participating in the Penfold Review:

Streamlining: this includes vetting and early rejection of hopeless and vexatious claims (although these powers are in fact already broadly available to registration authorities).

Declarations by landowners: these would prevent rights being accrued in the future without the need for fencing (or, where 20 years' use has already accrued, trigger the two-year grace period for latent claims).

Character test: only land which is unenclosed, open enough for 'most' sports and pastimes and uncultivated would be eligible for registration. This is a radical departure and will reduce the scope of claims, notwithstanding that it is likely to lead to a significant short-term increase in judicial review of negative decisions by registration authorities.

Integration: land which is subject to a planning application or extant permission for development, or is designated either for development or as a Local Green Space, cannot be registered. It remains to be seen whether this will have the retrospective effect the proposals appear to suggest.

Fees: refundable charges for submitting applications which are intended to deter frivolous applicants.

Other changes needed

Although the proposals are bold in suggesting (at least for now) that any existing planning permission will trump a TVG claim (regardless of whether TVG issues were aired during its consideration by the LPA), there is nothing to assist with land blighted by current claims, or claims made before the new law comes into force. It is unlikely that the law will change before winter 2012, before which there is likely to be a spike in TVG applications. The ways in which the existing ministerial power to authorise deregistration can be used in the interim (and the need for a policy presumption in favour of deregistration in certain circumstances) is therefore a missing link that also needs to be addressed.

There are some additional changes that should be made to the TVG procedures:

  • clarification of the extent to which Town and Country Planning Act powers (e.g. 'appropriation') can be used to override TVG status without Ministerial approval;
  • shortening the onerous two-year grace period for claims to be brought once use has been interrupted;
  • perhaps providing for a "reverse CPO" where a landowner can require the local authority to acquire a registered TVG, at a compensation value that reflects the value uplift on properties in the benefiting community, maybe even allowing an additional rate on the residential properties benefiting to repay the authority.

The proposals also need to be looked at in the context of the UK Government's commitment, confirmed in the recent Natural Environment White Paper, to enable the designation of land through neighbourhood and local plans as a Local Green Space (LGS) (with equivalent effect to SSSI designation). These changes will be in force by April 2012 and it will be crucial to ensure that the net effect of the two reforms is genuinely two steps forward. There is a risk that LGS designation is seen as the final resort for failed TVG applications.

Please let us know if there are examples of the impact of the current regime or suggestions for reform that you would like to put forward. In the meantime, landowners with land that is at risk of a TVG application should be very wary, and should be making it clear that any public access to land is properly controlled to prevent the present TVG tests being met.

What Can We Do?

We can help with any representations that you wish to make on the consultation paper. We make representations on all major legal and policy developments, and regularly assist clients with presenting their issues to Westminster, Whitehall and local government.

We can undertake site and portfolio HealthChecks to identify risk, de-risking options and tactical issues or provide a fixed fee review of any application for a TVG, to establish the prospects of success.

We can assist registration authorities in navigating the present requirements, in particular providing guidance on when applications can be dealt with, without an inquiry process and mitigation of judicial review risk.

Our Experience

Lobbying: Drafting proposals for reform through the Localism Bill (on behalf of a national industry group) and making representations to the Penfold Review.

Defence: Successful defence of TVG registration to enable delivery of a town centre retail and leisure scheme on local authority land.

Registered Housing Providers: Advising on defence of TVG claims in relation to affordable housing development and mitigation and defence tactics for a housing site blighted by a post-construction TVG claim.

National Housebuilders: Advising on TVG deregistration to facilitate residential development scheme.

Local Planning Authorities: Providing TVG HealthCheck review of development sites, advice on de-risking and defensive tactics in advance of disposal or allocation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
27 Oct 2017, Seminar, New York, United States

Please join us for a milestone event, our 10th annual CLE Seminar for In-House Counsel.

24 Jan 2018, Seminar, San Francisco, United States

Dentons will host our Fourth Annual Courageous Counsel Leadership Institute in January, centered on the theme "Cultivating Innovation."

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.