Agenda item

Application to register land at Bishops Field at Great Chart as a new Village Green


(1)       The Commons Registration Officer said that the application had been made by Ms S Williams under Section 15 of the Commons Act 2006.   The land was owned by Kent County Council, which had applied to Ashford BC for outline permission for the erection of up to 14 dwellings on the site.  The immediate question was therefore whether the Panel should determine the application on behalf of the County Council or refer it to the Planning Inspectorate, as provided for in the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2008 and accompanying guidance.


(2)       The Commons Registration Officer briefly outlined the application itself. The site in question was a piece of land of some 1.4 acres situated next to a cul-de-sac known as Bishops Green in the Singleton area of the Great Chart with Singleton Parish.   The land had been open until a notice was put up stating “Public Notice Kent County Council property Land off Long Acre Road Ashford. The public may access this site for recreational purposes only they do so at their own risk. Permission may be revoked at any time.”  The date given by the landowners for the erection of the sign was August 2009.


(3)       Mr J N Wedgbury (Local Member) asked the Panel to note that he did not agree that the sign had been put up in 2009.  He said that he had personally been present when KCC Property had put up the fencing and notice in 2010. 


(4)       The Commons Registration Officer said that Mr Wedgbury’s contribution was further confirmation that there were areas of dispute between the applicants and the landowner.  In response to such circumstances, DEFRA’s guidance was that an application had to be referred to the Planning Inspectorate when “the registration authority has an interest in the outcome of the application or proposal such that there is unlikely to be confidence in the authority’s ability impartially to determine it.” 


(5)       The Commons Registration Officer then said that a previous Panel meeting had taken a decision to refer the Village Green application at Long Field in Cranbrook to the Planning Inspectorate in broadly similar circumstances.  As this was an option available to the County Council, she had consulted both interested parties.  The Landowner had objected very strongly to the proposed reference to the Planning Inspectorate.  The applicant, on the other hand had given her view that the County Council had a direct interest and that the application could only be considered objectively by the Planning Inspectorate.


(6)       The Commons Registration concluded her presentation by saying that the circumstances of the case were those envisaged by DEFRA when it had drafted the regulations and issued its guidance.  The strong views of the applicant needed to be taken into account and she was therefore recommending reference to the Planning Inspectorate.  In the event that the Panel decided not to do so, the application would be reported to the Panel in the Autumn.


(7)       Mr R A Pascoe moved, seconded by Mr H J Craske that that the recommendations of the Head of Regulatory Services be agreed.

                                                                        Carried Unanimously


(8)       RESOLVED that the application be referred to the Planning Inspectorate for determination.

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