Agenda and draft minutes

Regulation Committee Member Panel
Tuesday, 3rd December, 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Andrew Tait  03000 416749

Items
No. Item

6.

Application to register land known as Hospital Field at Brabourne as a new Town or Village Green pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

(1)       The Panel Members visited the site before the meeting. This visit was attended by Mr Alan Day (Gladman Developments Ltd) and some 8 members of the public.

 

(2)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer introduced the application which had been made by Brabourne PC under section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 and the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014.  Section 15 of the Commons Act enabled any person to apply to the Commons Registration Authority to register land as a Village Green where it could be shown that a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood within a locality, had indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the land for a period of at least 20 years.

 

(3)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer continued by saying that an objection had been received from Gladman Developments Ltd on the grounds that the neighbourhood relied upon was not a qualifying one; that the use relied upon was predominantly referable to the Public Footpaths on the application site and insufficient to indicate that the land was in general use by the community; that the land was not available for recreational use for long periods due to the presence of crops; and that any wider recreational use was either challenged or with permission.

 

(4)       The application had been considered on 18 March 2018 by a Regulation Committee Member Panel which had referred it to a Public Inquiry for further consideration.

 

(5)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer said that the Public Inquiry had taken place in February 2019. She went on to summarise the Inspector’s findings and conclusions which had been produced on 22 July 2019. 

 

(6)        The Inspector had first considered whether use of the land had been “as of right.”   All parties had agreed that use had been without force. The objector had given evidence that some of the activities relied upon by the applicants had either been challenged (in the case of horse riding) or been with permission (metal detecting.   The Inspector had, however, concluded that as these two activities had not constituted a major proportion of the evidence relied upon by the applicant, use of the site had been “as of right.”

 

(7)       the Inspector had then considered whether use of the site had been for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes.   Her findings had regard to the physical state of the site during the relevant 20-year period, when it had been in arable production for crops including wheat, barley and rapeseed.  The tenant farmer’s records only went back as far as 2005, but the Inspector was satisfied that the general pattern of agricultural use before then would have been similar.  During those years when the field was left fallow (2006, 2010 and 2012), it would have been possible for the whole of the application site to be used for recreational purposes.  During other years, however, the pattern of use  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Application to divert part of Public Footpath WC108 and create an additional Public Footpath at Cranbrook pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

(1)          The Panel Members visited the site before the meeting.  This visit was attended by Mr Steve Kelsey (landowner), Mr Michael Wood (ET Landnet), Mr Brian Swann (Cranbrook and Sissinghurst PC), Mr John Donaldson and Mr Graham Smith (Ramblers) and some 8 members of the public.  The Panel inspected the current route and the proposed new route. 

 

(2)       The Principal Legal Orders Officer introduced his report on the application to divert parts of Public Footpath WC108 which had been received from the owners of Great Swifts Manor at Cranbrook.  The applicants had also offered to create an additional length of path around the edge of an adjoining field to benefit users of the existing PROW network. 

 

(3)       The Principal Legal Orders Officer then explained the reasons given by the applicants for the path to be moved.  The current route ran down a busy driveway used daily by some 50 to 80 vehicles. It also ran across on land fronting the property where children and dogs played.  Moving the route would overcome the resultant Health and Safety concerns.  Dog excrement contaminated the machinery used to cut the grass and the resultant hay crop.   Some members of the public also tended to attempt to force their way through the main gates, resulting in damage to the motor which was expensive to repair.

 

(4)       The Principal Legal Orders Officer went on to set out the relevant Legal Tests. 

 

(5)       The Legal Tests for the diversion of a public path were contained within section 119 of the Highways Act 1980.  These enabled the County Council to  make an Order to divert a public path if it was satisfied that it was expedient to do so, either in the interests of the owner, lessee or occupier of the land crossed by the path in question, or if it was expedient in the interests of the public. It could not be diverted if the end of the path was not on another highway. The Order could not be confirmed by the Secretary of State when objections had been received unless the Council was satisfied that the route would not be substantially less convenient to the public as a result of the diversion, and that confirmation of the Order was expedient having regard to the effect of the diversion on public enjoyment of the route as a whole.

 

(6)       Legislation relating to the creation of a Public Footpath by Order was contained within Section 26 of the 1980 Act which provided that the authority could create a public path over the land if it appeared to the Council that there was a need for a public path and if it was satisfied that it was expedient to do so after having regard to:

 

(a)       the extent to which the path would add to the convenience or enjoyment of a substantial section of the public, or to the convenience of persons resident in the area; and

 

(b)       the effect which the creation of the path would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Application to register land known as Hillminster Green at Minster-in-Thanet as a new Town or Village Green pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

(1)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer introduced the report on the application which had been made by Minster-in-Thanet PC under section 15 of the Commons Act 2015 and the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014.  The Parish Council had acquired the land after the application had been made in October 2017.  This meant that it would have been possible for it to be treated as a voluntary dedication.  As the investigation had nearly been completed, and it appeared that the legal tests under section 15 (2) were capable of being met in any event, it was decided to proceed with the application as it stood.

 

(2)       The Public Rights of Way and Commons Registration Officer went on to briefly summarise the tests that all needed to be met in order for registration to take place. She said that use of the land had been “as of right” because it had taken place without force, secrecy or permission enabling rights to be acquired.  The user evidence forms demonstrated that use of the land had been for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes.  The application site had been used by residents of the neighbourhood of Hillminster within the locality of the parish of Minster-in-Thanet.   The user evidence forms evidenced that the land in question was used as a local focal point on a daily basis by a significant number of these residents.  Use of the land had continued up to and beyond the date of application for the required 20 year period of 1997 to 2017.  She therefore recommended that the land should be registered as a new Village Green.

 

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

 

(4)       RESOLVED to inform the applicant that the application to register the land known as Hillminster Green at Minster-in-Thanet as a new Village Green has been accepted and that the land subject to the application be formally registered as a Village Green.  

9.

Application to register land known as Kingsmead Recreation Ground at Canterbury as a new Town or 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 Canterbury CC under section 15(8) of the Commons Registration Act 2006 to voluntarily register the land in question as a new Town or Village Green.  The tests for applications of this nature required the County Council to be satisfied that the applicant was the owner of the land and that any necessary consents had been obtained.   The County Council’s investigations had confirmed that this was the case. She therefore recommended that registration should take place.

 

(2)       Ms Rebecca Booth (Canterbury CC) confirmed that the City Council was very content to accept the recommendations.

 

(3)       Mr G K Gibbens (Local Member) said that no one had objected to the application and that Canterbury CC and the local community had worked together to bring this application about.  This would enable the local residents to enjoy an area of green space in the urban centre of Canterbury.

 

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

 

(5)       RESOLVED that the applicant be informed that the application to register the land known as Kingsfield Field at Canterbury has been accepted and that the land subject to the application be formally registered as a Town or Village Green.

10.

Application to register land known as Whimbrel Green at Larkfield as a new Town or 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 East Malling and Larkfield PC under section 15(8) of the Commons Registration Act 2006 to voluntarily register the land in question as a new Town or Village Green.  The tests for applications of this nature required the County Council to be satisfied that the applicant was the owner of the land and that any necessary consents had been obtained.   The County Council’s investigations had confirmed that this was the case. She therefore recommended that registration should take place.

 

(3)       Mrs T Dean (Local Member) was present for this item. She indicated that she did not consider it necessary to address the Panel. 

 

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

 

(5)       RESOLVED that the applicant be informed that the application to register the land known as Whimbrel Green at Larkfield has been accepted and that the land subject to the application be formally registered as a Town or Village Green.