Two changes are coming in to force in Wales from the 22nd October 2018 which will restrict town or village green (“TVG”) registrations and create greater alignment with the procedures already in operation in England. The changes will be welcomed by developers and landowners in Wales as it will become more difficult to register land as a TVG.
For developers and land owners, land registered as a TVG can be extremely problematic. Development of land could be prevented by a TVG registration as it becomes a criminal offence to build on and damage the land once registered. A TVG registration also makes it a criminal offence to develop the land if such development interrupts the use or enjoyment of the land or if the development enclosed the land, except where enclosure enables better public enjoyment of it. A TVG registration could become a very costly and time consuming problem if it arises.
- From the 22nd October 2018, landowners in Wales can submit a statement and map to their commons registration authority, ending the period that the land has been used “as of right” (used without force, secrecy or permission) for lawful sports and pastimes. Presently, in order for land to be registered as a TVG under section 15(1) of the Commons Act 2006 (“the CA 2006”), a significant number of people must have used the land “as of right” for at least 20 years. By submitting a statement and map to the commons registration authority, any purported use of the land will be interrupted and the period of time anyone claiming to have been using the land “as of right” will end. In England, landowners are already permitted to submit a statement and map to their commons registration authority, therefore, this change coming in to force will bring the procedure in Wales in line with what is already applicable in England.
- The second change has introduced the following ‘trigger events’ which having occurred, will prohibit an application to register land as a TVG:-a) an application for planning permission for development of the land being granted or deemed to be granted;
b) a local development order (being an order allowing local authorities to extend permitted development rights for certain forms of development with regard to a relevant local development document) becoming effective by being adopted by resolution of the local planning authority; or
c)a development consent order, required for development forming part of a nationally significant infrastructure project, granted by the Secretary of State.
However, you should be aware that in relation to each trigger event there may be subsequent events known as ‘terminating events’ which could then nullify the trigger event, thereby permitting the registration of the TVG once again.
Listed below are the terminating events which correspond to each of the trigger events and which would enable a TVG to be registered once again if:-
- In relation to a planning permission that has been granted or deemed to be granted:-(a)the period for development to be begun as noted in the planning permission expires
without development being started;
(b) the expiry of a completion notice served by the local planning authority
if they believe the development will not be completed within a reasonable time. The
notice must be confirmed by the Secretary of State and will express that the
planning permission will no longer apply after the date stated in the completion
(c) the Local Authority or Welsh Ministers make an order revoking the planning
permission or modify it in such a way that it no longer applies to the land; or
(d) the planning permission is quashed by a court.
- In relation to a local development order granting planning permission for a development
being adopted by a resolution:-
(a) the planning permission contains a condition or limitation specified by the order,
resulting in the planning permission for the development ceasing to apply;
(b) a direction is issued by the local planning authority resulting in the planning permission
not applying to development of the land;
(c) the order included a provision as to the revision of a local development order so that
it no longer grants planning permission for the development;
(d) the order is revoked; or
(e) the order is quashed by a court.
- In relation to a development consent order being made:-
(a) the order granting development consent ceases to have effect if the development has
not begun before the period specified in the order;
(b) an order made by the Secretary of State changes the development consent order
resulting in it no longer applying to the land;
(c) an order made by the Secretary of State revokes the development consent order; or
(d) the order is quashed by a court.
England and Wales – what are the differences between the trigger and terminating events?
From the 22nd October 2018, there will be fewer trigger events relating to land in Wales than there are relating to land in England and the trigger events in the Welsh legislation will take effect at a later stage in the planning process.
For example, one of the trigger events set out in the English legislation is the first publication of an application for planning permission. This would occur at an earlier stage than the corresponding trigger event in Wales.
The new Welsh legislation will create greater alignment of procedures for registration of land as a TVG with that which is in force in England. However, developers, landowners and practitioners must be aware that the trigger and terminating events differ across both jurisdictions and care must be taken to ensure all involved are aware of the appropriate applicable trigger events and corresponding terminating events.
For further information on the registration or opposing the registration of a TGV, please contact Sally Pilott.