A village near Bedford has a new ‘village green’ after satisfying a council committee that all the relevant criteria had been met.
A report presented to the General Purposes Committee (31 October) said the application for village green status for land east of 8 Fetlock Close, Clapham, had been submitted on behalf of locals by one of the ward councillors.
This councillor is not a member of the Committee and had no part in the decision-making process.
Lee Phanco, chief officer for assessment, application & business, said the application for village green status was for a relatively small area of open land.
“A considerable amount of information [has been] submitted by local residents in support of the application, seeking to demonstrate that the usage of the land meets the criteria for it to be approved to be registered as a village green,” he said.
As part of the decision-making process, the Committee noted that the council has an interest in the outcome of the application since it owns part of the land and the whole of the land consists of adopted highway land, for which it is the
It also had to agree that two small areas of land did not meet the legal criteria to be registered as part of the village green.
“These are the two tiny bits of land,” the committee chair, cllr Henry Vann (Lib Dem, De Parys) said.
“There’s the slither that was sold previously by the council which therefore wouldn’t be eligible within its application,” he said.
“And then the parking bays that are off the edge of it.”
Cllr Vann added that the evidence provided showing people using the green space meant it was “quite evident” how this parcel of land had been used for “a long period of time”.
“I would also note as well the responses to the consultation which were solely in favour,” he said.
“There were no objections to this designation at all.
“In my view that gives us a steer… we should approve the registration of this land as village green because the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour,” he said.
“Actually, if we chose not to do that despite the consultation responses being 100 per cent in favour, then we probably would have to refer ourselves to the planning inspectorate.
“Because that would be a surreal decision to make, if that makes sense, and clearly an unsound one,” he said.
The committee agreed that the applicant has demonstrated that the land meets all of the set criteria, and approved the registration of the land as a village green.
Cllr Abu Sultan (Labour, Cauldwell: “I believe village green spaces are a valuable community asset.
“Hopefully [this] will ensure protection from future development and ensure public access for future generations.
“It also sends a powerful message to communities of the value of open spaces,” he said.
by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter