Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions
Contact: Andrew Tait 03000 416749
(1) The following supplementary documents had been circulated to all parties prior to the meeting:
- Statement made by the Barden Residents Association;
- Submissions on behalf of the applicant by Alexander Greaves (Francis Taylor Building);
- Statement by Tonbridge and Malling BC;
- Submissions by Jonathan Clay, Cornerstone Barristers.
(2) The Public Rights of Way and Access Service Manager introduced his report by explaining that KCC was the Town and Village Green Registration Authority for its area. The procedure for managing applications followed by the County Council was set out in the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014.
(3) An application had been submitted in April 2018 by the Barden Residents’ Association to record an area of land known as River Lawn, in the centre of Tonbridge as a village green. The land in question was owned by Tonbridge and Malling BC who had resolved to dispose of it.
(4) The Public Rights of Way and Access Service Manager said that before an application could be accepted by the County Council it was required to make enquiries of the relevant planning authority as to whether registration of the land was prohibited by a trigger event as set out in Schedule 1A of the Commons Act of 2006. In response to this enquiry, Tonbridge and Malling BC had set out the view that two trigger events prohibited registration of the land as a Village Green. These were:
a) that the Tonbridge Central Area Action Plan 2008 identified all of the land for potential development, and
b) Planning permission had been given for a CCTV column which related to much of the site
(5) The Public Rights of Way Service had consequently sought legal Opinion in respect of the view put forward by Tonbridge and Malling BC. This Opinion had concluded that the development plan did not identify the land for “potential development” and that it was not clear in respect of the land covered by the CCTV planning permission, whether there had been a corresponding terminating event in respect of the permission in which the period when the development had to begin had expired without the development taking place. The Opinion had also advised that the County Council should proceed with the application while keeping the matter of trigger events under consideration.
(6) On the basis of this advice the Public Rights of Way and Access Service had intended to start consultation on the application in March 2019. This was initially delayed, on the advice of the County Council’s Monitoring Officer, due to the two pre-election periods for the Local Government and European elections.
(7) The Public Rights of Way and Access Service Manager went on to say that the matter had been further complicated when the judgement in the matter of Wiltshire County Council and Cooper Estates Limited had been handed down in May 2019. This case had a direct bearing on the question of development plans and trigger events. Further representations were received during this period from Tonbridge ... view the full minutes text for item 1.