Property Law uk

Maintained by Gary Webber

Town and village greens

There are two principle House of Lords cases dealing with town and village greens: R v Sunderland City Council ex parte Beresford (2003) and Oxfordshire County Council v Oxford City Council (2006). See contents section on the left.

Human rights

R. (on the application of Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs
[2013] EWCA Civ 673).


It has been held by the Court of Appeal s15(4) of the Commons Act 2006 relating to the registration of land as a town and village green is compatible with Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.


An application had been granted to register a beach as a town or village green. The Port Authority (P) objected to the application. The grounds of objection included that section 15(4) was incompatible with P’s rights under Article 1 Protocol 1 of the Convention.

At first instance, the High Court rejected this ground of challenge and held that the statutory provision is not incompatible with Article 1 Protocol 1. P appealed on this point to the Court of Appeal.


The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Under s15(4) it was possible to apply to register, where, inter alia, the application for registration was made within five years beginning with cessation of use. This was designed to recognise a long-standing position. Lewison LJ:
    “It is plain that a policy which recognises and regularises a long-standing state of affairs is a legitimate aim. It is the basis for the law of adverse possession and the acquisition of easements by prescription.”
Accordingly, the Court found that it was justifiable for Parliament to seek to allow a period after commencement of the 2006 Act during which applications could be made relying on use which ceased prior to the commencement of the Act.

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