Venue: Lympne Village Hall, Aldington Road, Lympne CT21 4LE
Contact: Andrew Tait 01622 694342
(1) The Panel Members visited the site of the application prior to the meeting. This visit was attended by the applicant, Mr D Plumstead; Mr K Bultitude, Chairman of Stanford PC; and the landowner’s representatives, Mr R Mr S Charles and Mr R Longstaff-Tyrell.
(2) The Commons Registration Officer began her presentation by saying that the application had been made by Mr D Plumstead under section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 and the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2008. The application had been accompanied by 30 user evidence questionnaires and various plans and photographs showing the application site. The site itself was some 9 acres in size and was bounded on its northern side by a public footpath. Access to the site was through the main entrance to the racecourse on Stone Street.
(3) The Commons Registration Officer then described the responses from consultees. Stanford PC had written in support of the application. Shepway DC had written in opposition, as it considered that the application was without merit and stating that it wished to see the area developed in future.
(4) The Commons Registration Officer continued by saying that the landowners were Folkestone Racecourse Ltd. They were represented by K&L Gates LLP who had objected to the application on the grounds that use of the site had not been by a significant number of the residents of the locality; that a number of the recreational uses referred to by the users had not taken place on the site, as this would have been impossible due to the use of the land for car parking; that use for formal events had been with the permission of the landowner; that informal use had been contentious by virtue of various challenges; and that use had taken place in the evenings and at weekends when the landowner would not have had the opportunity to challenge it.
(5) The landowner had also provided a statutory declaration from Mr R Longstaff-Tyrell, who had been responsible for maintenance of the site and had visited it monthly between 1997 and 2005. He had challenged access to the racecourse made by local residents via the rear access gates and had challenged a jogger in the mid 2000s. He had also stated that gates had been erected in 2006 together with signs prohibiting dog walking.
(6) The Commons Registration Officer moved on to consideration of the individual tests for registration to take place. The first of these was whether use of the land had been “as of right”. She said that although the landowner contended that use of the land for formal events had been permissive, it was the applicant’s contention that this use was not relied upon for the purposes of establishing “as of right” use. There was in fact no evidence to suggest that the landowner had granted permission to anyone to engage in informal recreational activities on the site.
(7) The Commons Registration Officer then referred to Stanford PC’s ... view the full minutes text for item 20.