UK: Protecting Your Land From Village Green And Rights Of Way Claims

Last Updated: 8 August 2013
Article by Anne Bennett

The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 (Commencement No. 3 and Savings) Order 2013 (SI 2013/1766) and the Commons (Registration of Town or Village Greens) and Dedicated Highways (Landowner Statements and Declarations) (England) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/1774) were made on 14 July 2013. The changes take effect from 1 October 2013.

Presumed dedication of highway

Under section 31(1) Highways Act 1980, a way is presumed to be dedicated as a highway if both of the following apply:

  • It has been actually enjoyed by the public as of right, and without interruption, for 20 years; and
  • It is not of such a character that public use cannot give rise to a common law presumption of dedication.

This presumption applies unless there is sufficient evidence that there was no intention on the part of the landowner during the 20 year period to dedicate it

Village Green applications

Under section 15 Commons Act 2006 anyone can apply to register land as a town or village green where:

"a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood within a locality, have indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the land for a period of at least 20 years"

The Deposit of Map and Statement under existing provisions of Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980

This is a longstanding procedure by which a landowner can rebut the presumption of deemed dedication of a public right of way.

The landowner must deposit with the appropriate authority a map of the land (to a specified scale) and a statement identifying any ways that the landowner admits to being a highway. Currently, the landowner must then lodge a statutory declaration with the authority stating that no additional land has been dedicated within the first, and every subsequent, period of ten years from the date of deposit of the map and statement, or the date that a previous declaration was lodged.

The duties of the appropriate authority to maintain a register of statements, maps and declarations are contained in section 31A of the HA 1980 and the Dedicated Highways (Registers under Section 31A of the Highways Act 1980) (England) Regulations 2007.

If it can be shown that the route was used as a right of way, without interruption, for twenty years prior to the statement and statutory declaration being lodged, a public right of way can still arise since the deposit of a statement and statutory declaration will not have retrospective effect.

In our experience there is a lack of awareness among landowners of this procedure and few landowners have taken advantage of this simple procedure to protect their land from presumed dedication (which we hope to help address by circulating this note!).

The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 (Commencement No. 3 and Savings) Order 2013 (SI 2013/1766)

The Order brings into force with effect from 1 October 2013 (in so far as not already in force) the following provisions of the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013:

  • Section 13 which amends section 31 of the Highways Act 1980 and allows the Secretary of State to make regulations about statements and maps deposited and declarations lodged under section 31(6).
  • Section 15, which inserts new sections 15A and B into the Commons Act 2006 that allow a landowner in England to deposit a statement and map for the purpose of bringing to an end any period during which persons have indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the land to which the statement relates, on the landowner's land. The provisions also enable the Secretary of State to make regulations for a statement and map under this section to be combined with a statement or declaration and map previously deposited under section 31;

The Commons (Registration of Town or Village Greens) and Dedicated Highways (Landowner Statements and Declarations) (England) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/1774)

These regulations prescribe the form of the application and the steps the authority must take to publicise an application. They will come into force on 1 October 2013 in England only and will apply to any deposit of statement or declarations after that date.

The commons registration authority will be required to maintain a register of statements and maps deposited in paper and electronic form. The electronic form must be available for public inspection on the appropriate authority's website.

The Dedicated Highways (Registers under Section 31A of the Highways Act 1980) (England) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/2334) are amended so that (from 1 October 2013) statements need only be lodged every 20 years instead of 10 years and are no longer required to be sworn declarations.

Conclusion

The extension of this simple but effective procedure, under s31 of the Highways Act, into the realm of village greens should enable landowners to better protect themselves against unfounded claims for village green status.

Other measures in the Growth and Infrastructure Act exclude the right to apply to register land as a Village Green where any specified event related to the past, present or future development of land occurs. These "Trigger events" include publicity for a planning application, adoption of a development plan and the making of a neighbourhood development plan.

The government is currently consulting on additional trigger or terminating events related to the development of the land, all of which will help landowners to protect themselves against claims to public rights over their land and who have frequently had to endure delay and uncertainty due to applications for Village Green status.

It is also a timely reminder to landowners to take advantage of the Section 31(6) procedure to avoid claims to highway rights over private ways.

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 Mondaq.com.

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

Authors
Anne Bennett
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
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
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions