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Public access to land.

The editor of this section of the site is William Batstone, barrister at Guildhall Chambers, Bristol (www.guildhallchambers.co.uk)

Town and Village Green

R (Lancashire County Council) v (1) Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2) Janine Bebbington;
R (NHS Property Services Limited) (1), Surrey County Council (2) v Timothy Jones
[2018] EWCA Civ 721

  • The Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed an appeal from the decision of Ouseley J not to quash the registration of land adjoining a primary school in Lancaster as a Town or Village Green (TVG); and
  • Allowed an appeal from the decision of Gilbart J to quash the registration of land adjoining Leatherhead Hospital as a TVG.

There were others but the issue common to both appeals was whether the concept of statutory incompatibility defeated an application to register land as a TVG under s15 of the Commons Act 2006.


In the Lancaster case an application was made to Lancaster County Council, as registration authority, for 32 acres of land adjoining a Primary School to be registered as a TVG under s15 of the 2006 Act on the grounds 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”.

An inspector appointed under a pilot scheme decided that 4 out of 5 areas should be registered as a TVG. The Council, as owner of the land, claimed judicial review of the decision because registration as a TVG was incompatible with its statutory duty as local education authority. On 27 May 2016 ([2016] EWHC 1238 (Admin)) Ouseley J dismissed the Council’s claim for judicial review.

In the Leatherhead case the defendant supported an application to Surrey County Council to have 7 acres of land adjoining Leatherhead Hospital registered as a TVG under s15 of the 2006 Act. The Council, rejecting an inspector’s recommendation, granted the application but the owner, NHS Property Services Ltd, successfully judicially reviewed the decision before Gilbart J ([2016] EWHC 1715 (A ... THIS IS AN EXTRACT OF THE FULL TEXT. TO GET THE FULL TEXT, SEE BELOW

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