Venue: Palmer Room, Langton Green Village Hall, Winstone Scott Avenue, Langton Green, Tunbridge Wells TN3 0JJ
Contact: Andrew Tait 01622 694342
(1) The Panel Members visited the application site before the meeting. This visit was attended by Mr E Bates (applicant) a representative from Goudhurst PC and four members of the public. The applicant drew the Panel's attention to the pathway which had been constructed when the new primary school was opened and used by local people to avoid the main road. He pointed out the parking on the land which occurred when church events were taking place and the chain on the vehicular entry point which prevented local residents using the land for parking. A local resident also pointed out the informal entry point adjacent to the Church Rooms, which was used by a number of people to gain access to the site.
(2) The Chairman informed the Panel that the Local Member, Mr A J King had sent his apologies owing to a clash with other Council business. He had asked to be kept informed of the progress of the application.
(3) The Commons Registration Officer began her presentation by saying that the application had been made by Mr E Bates under section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 and the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2008. The application had been accompanied by 112 user evidence forms and other evidence (including a statement detailing the history and use of the site, a copy of the leases between Kent County Council and the Canterbury Diocesan Board of Finance, notes of a meeting between the Parish Council and the landowner regarding the future of the site, photographic evidence of organised activity taking place on the land in question and a programme from the 1997 fete).
(4) The Commons Registration Officer went on to set out the case put forward by the applicant. This was that the site was had been used for generations on a daily basis by a significant number of local people. Although Goudhurst and Kilndown Primary School had a lease which allowed its pupils to play sport on the field, local residents had continued to use the site for their own recreation whilst ensuring that this use did not interfere with school use.
(5) The Commons Registration Officer then described the responses from consultees. Tunbridge Wells BC (Planning and Development) had stated that the field had been used for recreational purposes, although it could not confirm whether this use had been by a significant number of inhabitants of the locality or of a neighbourhood within a locality. A local resident, Mr P Glyde had written in support of the application, saying that the land was in regular use for dog walking, socialising and football. He had also drawn attention to the well-attended fetes and shows which took place during the summer months.
(6) The Commons Registration Officer continued by saying that the site was owned by the Canterbury Diocesan Board of Finance who had leased it to Kent County Council as a school playing field between the years 1966 and 2010. The Landowner had permitted the County ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
(1) The Panel Members visited the application site before the meeting. This visit was attended by Mr R Fitzpatrick (applicant).
(2) The Chairman informed the Panel that the Local Member, Mr J E Scholes had sent his apologies owing to a clash with other County Council business. He had indicated his agreement with the contents of the report.
(3) The Commons Registration Officer tabled aerial photographs of the application site and then explained that the application had been made by Mr R Fitzpatrick under section of the Commons Act 2006 and the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2008. The application had been accompanied by 38 user evidence forms.
(4) The Commons Registration Officer then said that Cllr C Woodward from Tunbridge Wells BC had replied on behalf of himself, Cllr Mrs B Cobbold and Mr J E Scholes to advise that they were happy to support the application whilst having concerns that Village Green status might prevent redevelopment of community facilities from taking place. Tunbridge Wells BC Planning had stated that it had no objection as Village Green status would not conflict with the designation of the site in the Local Plan as a “neighbourhood centre” and “important local space.”
(5) The Commons Registration Officer then reported that an objection had been received from Mr Colin Lissenden on behalf of the Town and Country Housing Group on the grounds that part of the site was within its ownership. The objection had also stated that the application would severely affect any future regeneration plans and deter future investment to improve the land in the best interests of the local community.
(6) The Commons Registration Officer went on to inform the Panel that the applicant had requested a number of amendments to be made to the application. These had been agreed as they accorded with DEFRA’s guidance on the principle of fairness and because they did not cause any prejudice to any of the parties involved.
(7) The Commons Registration Officer then turned to the objections from the Landowner, Tunbridge Wells BC. These were that registration of a car park, footpaths, circulation areas and walkways of a building complex were outside the scope and intention of the 2006 Act; that 62% of the users had not used the site for the full 20 year period; that several users referred to the use of the site for a “right of way” type use to access community facilities; that use of the land for organised events had been with the permission of the landowner; and that only 12 of the 2200 local residents had used the land for the full qualifying period, which did not constitute a “significant number.”
(8) The Commons Registration Officer went on to consider the legal tests which needed to be met for registration to take place. The first of these was whether use of the land had been “as of right”. She said that there was no evidence of use being either with force or secrecy. The landowner ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
(1) The Panel Members visited the application site before the meeting. This visit was attended by Mrs M Heasman (applicant).
(2) The Commons Registration Officer said that the application had been made by Mrs M Heasman under section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 and the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2008. It had been accompanied by 54 user evidence forms and 9 statements of support.
(3) The Commons Registration Officer then said that the application had originally included a tarmac parking area on the north eastern part of the site. Following an objection from Mr C Lissenden of the Town and Country Housing Group, the applicant had expressed a wish to exclude this part of the site from her application.
(4) The Commons Registration Officer continued by setting out the views of the consultees. Tunbridge Wells BC Planning had stated that it was unable to confirm whether the site had been used “as of right” by a significant number of local residents for lawful sports and pastimes. Tunbridge Wells BC had also replied in its capacity as landowner. It had stated that it did not wish to make any representations in respect of the application.
(5) The Commons Registration Officer went on to say that it was still necessary to establish whether each of the individual tests had been met, even though no objection had been received. She therefore moved on to consider the legal tests.
(6) The first test was whether use of the land had been “as of right.” The Commons Registration Officer said that there was no evidence to suggest that use had been by force or stealth. Furthermore, there had been no indication that the landowner had given permission for use of the land. This included implied permission, as no fetes or other events organised by the landowner had taken place on the land in question.
(7) The Commons Registration Officer then said that there had been use of the land for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes. The user evidence forms had made reference to a wide range of sports and pastimes, notwithstanding references within them to uses associated with the footpath. As 60 local residents in the neighbourhood of High Brooms had attested to use of the site, it was also clear that use had been by a significant number of inhabitants of a neighbourhood within the locality of Tunbridge Wells.
(8) The Commons Registration Officer then confirmed that use had continued up to the date of application (and beyond) and that use had indeed taken place over the entire 20 year period in question. This was 1992 to 2012 rather than 1991 to 2011 as set out in the report.
(9) The Commons Registration Officer concluded her report by saying that as all the legal tests had been met, she recommended that the land in question (as amended) should be registered as a Village Green.
(10) Mrs M Heasman (applicant) briefly thanked the Commons Registration Officer for the hard ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
(1) The Commons Registration Officer said that the application had been received from Mr H Craddock under paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 of the Commons Act 2006.
(2) The Commons Registration Officer briefly explained that Common Land was defined as land subject to traditional rights or “rights of common.” These areas were included within the definition of “Open Access Land” which gave the public the right to gain access on foot.
(3) The land which was the subject of the application had been included in a scheme of regulation and management made under the Commons Act 1899 which permitted District Councils to make schemes of management for common land.
(4) The Commons Registration Officer said that a scheme of management had been made in 1949 by the Maidstone Rural Council in relation to land known as “The Lees” in Yalding. The applicant considered that certain parts of the land included within the scheme of management had been omitted from the formal registration of the land as common land and that the Register of Common Land should be amended accordingly.
(5) The Commons Registration Officer went on to explain that the Panel needed to satisfy itself that the land was not currently registered as Common Land or Village Green and that it had never been finally registered as such. It also needed to be satisfied that the land was either regulated by an Act made under the Commons Act 1876, or subject to a scheme under the Metropolitan Commons Act 1866 or the Commons Act 1899, or regulated as common land under a local or personal Act, or otherwise recognised or designated as common land by or under an enactment.
(6) The Commons Registration Officer said that an objection had been received from KCC Governance and Law on behalf of the County Council’s Highways and Transportation Team. This objection set out that those sections of the application site that formed part of the public highway should not be included within any subsequent registration. It was also stated that if the application were to succeed, it would impact on the County Council’s statutory duty to assert and protect the rights of the public in relation to the public highway.
(7) The Commons Registration Officer explained that the concerns raised by the objector were not a material consideration. She then said that it was clear that the scheme of management had clearly intended the inclusion of the roads regardless of whether they would have been subsequently capable of formal registration under the later Commons Registration Act 1965. She therefore recommended accordingly.
(8) The Chairman read out correspondence received from Ms V Clothier (KCC Governance and Law) on behalf of behalf of the objector.
(9) Mr T A Maddison moved, seconded by Mrs V J Dagger that the recommendations of the head of Regulatory Services be agreed.
(10) RESOLVED that the applicant be informed that the application to amend the Register of Common Land to register additional areas of ... view the full minutes text for item 15.