Agenda and draft minutes

Regulation Committee Member Panel - Wednesday, 24th February, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Online

Contact: Andrew Tait  03000 416749

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Application to register land at Snowdown as a new Village Green pdf icon PDF 4 MB

Minutes:

(1)       Mr D Murphy informed the Panel that as he had Cabinet responsibilities in Dover DC, he would not participate in the decision making for this item.

 

(2)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer introduced her report on The County Council has received an application to register an area of land at Snowdown as a new Town or Village Green from Mr. M. Anderson.  This application had been made under section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 and the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014 on 24 January 2019.  In order for registration to take place, it would need to be demonstrated that “a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood within a locality, have indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the land for a period of at least 20 years.”   This use of the land had to have ended by no more than one year prior to the date of application.

 

(3)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer said that the land subject to this application consisted of a roughly L shaped area of land of approximately 10.3 acres (4.17 hectares) comprising wooded areas (covering a large part of the northern section of the site as well as along its boundary with Sandwich Road) with a central, grassed open space that included children’s play equipment and football goals.  It was crossed by two Public Footpaths (EE301 and EE302) which provided access to it from Aylesham Road (on the northern side of the site), Sandwich Road (on the southern side of the site) and South Avenue, which provided easy access to the site from the residential properties comprising the Snowdown settlement.

 

(4)       The application had been accompanied by a statement of support from the applicant, photographs of the application site, as well as 29 user evidence questionnaires demonstrating recreational use of the application site

 

(5)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer then summarised the responses to consultation on the application.  Aylesham Parish Council had written in support of the application, noting that it wished to keep the amenity available for children to use in the future.   A representation had been received from Mr T Johnstone noting that the application site was the subject of a lease in favour of Aylesham Parish Council, which provided for recreational use of the land, which prevented the site from being registered as a Village Green.  Southern Water had objected to the application on the basis that the application site included existing wastewater network assets contained within a permanently fenced compound which had not been accessible for recreational use. They also required to the underground infrastructure in the vicinity for maintenance purposes, possibly triggering a criminal offence if the land were to be registered as a Village Green. They were developing the site as a pumping station and essential sewerage infrastructure for the village.  

 

(6)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer went on to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1.

2.

Application to register land at Two Fields, Westbere as a new Village Green pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Minutes:

(1)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer introduced her report by saying that the County Council had received an application from Lady L Laws on behalf of the Two Fields Action Group on 18 November 2019 to register an area of land known as Two Fields at Westbere as a new Town or Village Green under the Commons Registration Act 2006 and the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014. 

 

(2)        The land subject to the application was situated on the Westbere/Sturry parish boundary, south of Staines Hill and Westbere Lane, and consisted of a large area of approximately 37 acres (15 hectares) comprising mixed woodland (some of which has been recently cleared) as well as more open areas of grassland and scrub. Access to the application site was via Public Footpath CB91 which, for the most part, ran alongside the railway line abutting the southern edge of the application site and connected Westbere Lane with Fairview Gardens.

 

(3)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer said that the application had been made under section 15(2) of the Commons Act on the basis that use of the application site had continued “as of right” until the date of the application.  The applicant relied upon the parishes of Westbere and Sturry as the qualifying locality for the purposes of the application.

 

(4)       The ownership of the application site was sub-divided into five strips of varying width that were registered with the Land Registry to four different landowners.  These were: Bellway Homes Ltd, Mr S Saadat, Westbere Green Space Protection Ltd and Mr S Mahallati.

 

(5)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons registration Officer then said that two objections had been received on behalf of two of the affected landowners.  Winkworth Sherwood LLP (on behalf of Bellway Homes Ltd) objected on the basis that:-

 

-       The use of the application site had not been by a significant number of the inhabitants of a single locality, or neighbourhood within a locality;

 

-       Use of the application site had not been “as of right” due to the erection of prohibitive notices erected on site in 2018 (replaced in September 2019);

 

-       The vast majority of the use relied upon consisted of walking (which was considered equivalent to the use of a right of way) and not sufficient to establish use of the application site for lawful sports and pastimes; and

 

-       Use of the application site had ceased to be “as of right” more than one year prior to the submission of the application, such that the tests under sections 15(2) and 15(3) of the Commons Act 2006 were not met.

 

(6)       The objection from Thompson, Snell and Passmore LLP (on behalf of Mr. Mahallati) was made on the basis that:-

 

-      A large proportion of the users had not provided evidence of use of the application site for the full twenty-year period;

 

-      One of the main uses of the application site was for walking and such use fell  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Application to voluntarily register land at Grove Green as a Village Green pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

(1)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer introduced the report on an application by Maidstone BC, the landowner, to voluntarily register land known as Weavering Heath at Grove Green as a Village Green. 

 

(2)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer explained that the County Council as registering authority needed to be satisfied that the applicant was the owner of the land and that any necessary consents had been obtained.  In this case, a Land Registry search had confirmed that the site was wholly owned by the Borough Council and that there were no other interested parties such as leaseholders or owners of relevant charges named on the Register of Title. The relevant locality was the parish of Boxley   She therefore recommended that the application should be accepted.

 

(3)       On being put to the vote, the recommendations contained in the report were unanimously agreed.

 

(4)       RESOLVED to inform the applicant that the application to register the land known as Weathering Heath at Grove Green in the parish of Boxley has been accepted and that the land subject to the application be formally registered as a Town or Village Green.

 

 

4.

Application for the transfer of Rights of Common at Higham Common (CL86) pdf icon PDF 791 KB

Minutes:

(1)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer briefly introduced the report which concerned an application to amend the Register of Common Land at Higham Common from the RSPB to reflect a transfer of ownership from ET Ledger and Son Ltd to themselves. 

 

(2)       The rights of common affected by this application were:”16 rights of common pasture being rights to graze a total of 16 bullocks, 32 calves, 12 horses or 80 sheep over the whole of the land comprised in this Register unit during the period from 25th March to 25th December each year.” 

 

(3)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer confirmed that the Panel could be satisfied that the applicant as the transferee was entitled to enter the application under section 12 of the Commons Act 2006.

 

(4)       On being put to the vote, the recommendations set out in the report were unanimously agreed. 

 

(5)       RESOLVED to inform the applicant that the application to transfer the Register of Common Land to reflect the recent transfer of rights of common has been accepted and that the Register of Common Land for Unit CL86 be amended accordingly.