Venue: Marden Cricket and Hockey Club, Albion Road, Marden TN12 9EF
Contact: Andrew Tait 01622 694342
(1) The Panel visited the site of the application shortly before the meeting. The visit was attended by Mr Trevor Simmons (Applicant), Mr Steven Wickham (Marden Hockey and Cricket Club and Mrs P A V Stockell (Local Member).
(2) The Commons Registration Officer introduced the application which had been made by Mr Trevor Simmons in 2011 under section 15 of the Commons Act 2006. The land in question was owned by Mr Roger Day who had leased it to the Marden Hockey and Cricket Club. Both Mr Day and the Club had objected to the application. The application had been considered by a Regulation Committee Member Panel in March 2013 where the decision had been taken to refer the decision to a non-statutory Public Inquiry. This had taken place in November 2013.
(3) The Commons Registration Officer moved on to summarise the Inspector’s findings in respect of the five criteria that needed to be satisfied if registration were to take place. The first of these was whether use of the land had been “as of right.” The Inspector had found that use had not taken place in a secretive manner. She had also been satisfied that use had not been by force. She had then considered whether use had been with permission. In her judgement, the significant point had been that the Club had exercised control over the use of the land in order to avoid damage and maintain the facilities in a good condition. The public had been welcome to watch local sports taking place, but had been excluded from the area of play whilst matches were taking place. Even though the Club had not specifically expressed an invitation to attend, it had communicated this invitation by its actions. The Inspector had therefore concluded that use of the application site had been by virtue of an implied permission and that use had been “by right” and not “as of right.”
(4) The second test was whether use of the land had been for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes. All parties had agreed that this test had been met, and the Inspector had been satisfied that this had been the case.
(5) The third test was whether use had been by a significant number of inhabitants of a particular locality or a neighbourhood within a locality. There had been no dispute that the village of Marden constituted a qualifying neighbourhood within the locality of the parish of Marden. The Inspector had been satisfied that a significant number of local people from the locality had used the site for informal recreation. However, in the light of her findings that such use had not been “as of right”, she had concluded that there had been insufficient qualifying use for this test to be passed.
(6) The Commons Registration Officer briefly summarised the Inspector’s findings in respect of the final two tests. She had accepted that because informal use had not ceased prior to the application being made, this ... view the full minutes text for item 8.