Venue: Bobbing Village Hall, Sheppey Way, Bobbing, Sittingbourne ME9 8PL
Contact: Andrew Tait 03000 416749
(1) The Panel Members visited the site before the meeting. The visit was attended by Mr Mike Baldock applicant, Mr Clive Sims (Borden PC) and Mr M J Whiting (Local Member).
(2) The Commons Registration Officer introduced the report by saying that the application to register the land had been made on 30 October 2015 by Mr Mike Baldock under section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 and the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014. A report on the application had been considered by a Regulation Committee Member Panel on 23 October 2017 where the decision had been taken to refer the matter to a Public Inquiry to clarify the issues.
(3) The Commons Registration Officer said that the Public Inquiry had been held in June 2018. The applicant had agreed at this point to amend the application by excluding the area in the north-eastern part of the site which was owned by SEPN as well as a further strip of land owned by Ward Homes Ltd that was subject to rights to lay cables. The Inspector had produced her findings on 27 November 2018.
(4) The Commons Registration Officer moved on to consider the Inspector’s findings on the legal tests. The first of these was whether use of the land had been as of right. It was clear that use had taken place neither secretly nor by the use of force. There had, however, been a question as to whether as to whether it had been with permission. The objectors had stated that notices had been erected by Ward Homes in 2003 and 2006 explaining that the land was owned or managed by Ward Homes and that use of the land was with the consent of the owner. The Inspector had concluded that as no member of the public had seen the notices and as the applicants had been unable to provide photographs and could not recollect the wording on them, use had been of right.
(5) The second test was whether use of the land had been for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes. It had become apparent during the Inquiry that the predominant use of the land had been for walking, leading to the question of whether this was walking in a general fashion or walking a defined linear route. The latter was generally regarded as a “rights of way type use” which case law (Laing Holmes) had established needed to be discounted for the purposes of Village Green registration. The Inspector had concluded that as the land had become ever more overgrown during the period on question, nearly all of the walking would have been along the main paths. This, taken together with the insufficiency of the evidence given to have persuaded the landowners that the site was in regular use by the local community for lawful sports and pastimes throughout the relevant period had led her to conclude that the test had not been met.
(6) The third test was whether use had ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
(1) Members of the Panel visited the application site prior to the meeting. The visit was attended by Mr Mike Baldock (applicant), Mr M J Whiting (Local Member), Mr Clive Sims (Borden PC) and Mr Hamish Buttle (Quinn Estates).
(2) The Commons Registration Officer briefly confirmed that the application had been made by Mr Mike Baldock under section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 and the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014.
(3) The Commons Registration Officer explained that the majority of the application site was owned by Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd and that a rectangle of land in the north western corner was registered to the Highways England Company.
(4) Following consultation, objections had been received from Swale BC and Mulberry Estates Sittingbourne. The Borough Council had argued that a Village Green would have a negative impact on development needs and supporting infrastructure. Mulberry Estates Ltd Sittingbourne had objected on the grounds that the site had been identified as highway land and was therefore not capable of registration.
(5) The application had been considered at a meeting of the Regulation Committee Member Panel on 23 October 2017 where the decision had been taken to refer it to a Public Inquiry for further consideration. This Inquiry had taken place in April 2018.
(6) The Commons Registration Officer then set out the Inspector’s findings which set out her findings and conclusions in a report dated 8 July 2018. The Inspector had considered the legal tests, the first of which was whether use of the land had been “as of right.” She had found that use had not taken place secretly or forcibly.
(7) The Inspector had then considered the question of whether the application site was highway land. She had noted that deed dated 28 January 1969 in which KCC had agreed to take over the road now known as Grove Park Avenue and all the verges as a highway maintainable at the public expense. Although there was no proof that this adoption had taken place, there was sufficient circumstantial evidence that the entire site including the narrow rectangle of land should be considered as highway land.
(8) The Commons Registration Officer then said that the Inspector had approached the “as of right” question by taking into account that the two Acts had never expressly precluded highway land from being registrable as a Village Green. Case Law had, however, established that qualifying use could not occur when the landowner had given permission. She had then studied the implications of the DPP v Jones 1999 case and concluded that as the whole of the land was highway land, the use which took place was carried out lawfully by virtue of the public’s right to use the land as highway land, and was consequently not “as of right” but “by right.”
(9) The second test was whether use of the land had been for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes. The Inspector had seen evidence that the site was used for a range ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
(1) The Commons Registration Officer introduced the report by saying that Headcorn Parish Council had applied to register land known as Spires Ash in Headcorn as a Village Green. This application had been made under s 15 of the Commons Act 2006 which permitted landowners to apply to voluntarily register their land.
(2) The Commons Registration Officer briefly explained that the both tests for voluntary registration had been met in that the land in question was wholly owned by the applicant and was in the locality of the civil parish of Headcorn.
(3) On being put to the vote, the recommendations contained within the report were carried unanimously.
(4) RESOLVED to inform the applicant that the application to register land known as Spires Ash at Headcorn has been accepted and that the land subject to the application (as amended and shown at Appendix A to the report) be formally registered as a Town or Village Green.