Venue: Thanington Resource Centre, Thanington Road, Canterbury CT1 3XE
Contact: Andrew Tait 01622 694342
(1) The Commons Registration Officer began her presentation by explaining that the land in question was owned by Ramsgate Town Council who wished to voluntarily register it as a Village Green.
(2) The Commons Registration Officer then explained that the Commons Act 2006 had introduced a provision which enabled land to be voluntarily registered if the owner applied and with the consent of any relevant leaseholder of, and the proprietor of any relevant charge, over the land.
(3) The land consisted of some 1.45 acres of woodland. Land Registry searches had revealed that it was wholly owned by the Town Council.
(4) An objection to the application had been received from Mr S Berger who represented Samber Ltd. This was a registered charity, whose land lay north west of the application site. The charity wished to rebuild the theological college which had once stood on the application site, having been built in the late 1860s and demolished in 1964. The land had been owned by Sir Moses Montefiore who had set up a trust in 1866 with guidelines as to the administration of the college and a strict prohibition on the sale of the land. The Charity considered that Village Green status would conflict with its aim of rebuilding the college. It had therefore asked for the application to be amended so as to facilitate the reconstruction of the college.
(5) The Commons Registration Officer said that Mr Berger’s representations had been forwarded to the applicants for comment. Ramsgate TC had taken the position that the trust had been superseded by various land transactions and that the Town Council was the current lawful landowner.
(6) The Commons Registration Officer said that she had taken advice from KCC Legal Services on the comments made by Mr Berger and on the Copy of the Register of Title. The advice received had been that the land had been registered to Ramsgate TC and that there was no evidence to suggest that any error had been made in the registration. Land Registry guaranteed the Town Council title to the land. There was, therefore, no reason in respect of ownership for registration not to proceed as requested by the landowner.
(7) The Commons Registration Officer concluded her presentation by saying that, having established that Ramsgate TC was the legal owner of the land, it was still necessary to establish that the land was situated in an identifiable locality. In this instance, the appropriate locality was the Ramsgate TC electoral ward of Sir Moses Montefiore. She therefore recommended that the land should be formally registered as a Village Green.
(8) Mr David Holder identified himself as a representative of Samber Ltd. He explained that the charity wished to rebuild the theological college in respect of Sir Moses Montefiore’s wishes. He had been a very famous philanthropist during the 19th Century and it was very appropriate that his memory was preserved in this way.
(9) Mr Holder said that Samber Ltd had only received the report ... view the full minutes text for item 1.
(1) Members of the Panel visited the site prior to the application. This visit was attended by Mr and Mrs C Perkins and Mr D Pierce (landowners).
(2) The Commons Registration Officer introduced the application which had been made under section 15 of the Commons Act by Wickhambreux Parish Council. She confirmed that all the statutory consultation arrangements had been carried out.
(3) The Commons Registration Officer said that the land had been owned by the Church Commissioners until 2009 when it had been sold in different plots to four separate landowners.
(4) The Commons Registration Officer then said that the application had been considered by the Panel on 15 November 2011 where it had been decided that a non-statutory Public Inquiry would be held to clarify the issues. This had taken place in November 2012 and February 2013, and the Inspector had provided a detailed report dated 13 December 2013.
(5) The Commons Registration Officer moved on to outline the Inspector’s findings in respect of the legal tests. The Inspector had concluded that use of the land had been “as of right” because use had clearly not been by force or stealth. She had not accepted the landowners’ view that the tenant farmer waving and acknowledging people using the land constituted implied permission, and had therefore concluded that use had also not been with permission and that the test had consequently been met.
(6) The second test was whether use of the land had been for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes. The Inspector had found that the vast majority of use had consisted of walking along a limited number of defined routes. Given the size of the land, she had concluded that this did not suggest general recreational use of a nature which would have led a reasonable landowner to consider that a right was being asserted to indulge in lawful sports and pastimes over the whole land. The test had not been met because the majority of use was not “qualifying use” and the remainder (which was no more than “trivial or sporadic”) was insufficient to give rise to Village Green registration.
(7) The Inspector had then considered the third test, which was whether use had been by a significant number of inhabitants of a particular locality or a neighbourhood within a locality. The Inspector had found that the two civil parishes of Wickhambreaux and Ickham did constitute a locality. She had, though, not accepted that the applicants had been able to identify a sufficiently cohesive neighbourhood to meet the requirements of the Commons Act 2006. Consequently, she had concluded that the test had not been met. She had, therefore, not gone on to consider whether use had been by a significant number. The Commons Registration Officer said that in the event that the Inspector had been satisfied on the neighbourhood question, her findings in respect of the lawful sports and pastimes test would have precluded her from finding that use had been by a significant ... view the full minutes text for item 2.