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Common land and town or village green land

Common land

Common land is land owned by one or more persons over which another person is entitled to exercise rights of common with others. 

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 enables public access to open country (mountain, moor, heath and down), registered common land and other land dedicated for access, otherwise known as "access land". The extent of access land is shown on maps maintained and produced by Natural England, but some access land is known as excepted land, which means it does not have the benefits of access land because of its location or use.

A person's right to use access land is only for the purposes of open-air recreation if and so long as they do so without breaking or damaging any wall, fence, hedge, stile or gate. There are also other restrictions in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 that put certain restrictions on use of access land by the public.

Town or village green land

A town or village green is an area of land that has been used by the inhabitants of a particular locality or neighbourhood(s) within a locality for recreational past times, such as picnics, games, fetes etc, for 20 years or more as of right (without the permission of the landowner, not by force or in secrecy).

If someone wishes to register an area of land as a town or village green, before they do so, they need to consider whether there have been any trigger events on the land, which would exclude the right to register the land as a town or village green; or whether there have been any corresponding terminating events to enable an application to be made. The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 on the 25 April 2013 amended the Commons Act 2006, by introducing a new Schedule 1A, which sets out the Icon for pdf trigger events and the corresponding terminating events [21.58KB].

An owner of land may from 1 October 2013 lodge with the Registration Authority a Landowner statement, which has the effect of the landowner confirming that their land has not been used as a town or village green for twenty years or more from when the application is lodged. The Council keeps a register of all the landowner statements that have been submitted under Sections 15A and 15B of the Commons Act 2006 at its information desk on the ground floor of the civic centre, which can be inspected free of charge. An electronic version of the Landowner Statement register is available online. If a person wishes to submit a landowner statement in respect of their land they will need to submit the following:

  • A landowner statement on the prescribed Icon for pdf application form [204.55KB].
  • the application form must be signed by every freehold owner of the land or their duly authorised representative (proof to be supplied with the application), or if a body corporate the secretary or some other duly authorised officer;
  • the application must be accompanied by an Ordnance Survey Map on a scale of not less than 1:10,560 showing the boundary of the land to which the application relates in coloured edging or refer to a map previously deposited in accordance with section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980, and
  • be accompanied by the application fee of £400 and an additional £90 fee will apply to an application that relates to more than one parcel of land.

If a person wishes to submit a town or village green application they must submit an application to the Registration Authority on the prescribed application form along with all their supporting evidence. Applicants are referred to the Defra guidance on making a town or village green application and a link to the prescribed application form 44 is below:

Current applications for the registration of new town or village greens

The attached table shows the current applications that have been received by the Registration Authority and their respective decisions (if they have been determined).

Land subject to town or village green applicationNoticeDecision Notice
Land to the south of Westfield Avenue, Crawcrook and East of Mount View

Icon for pdf Notice of application [97.11KB]
Icon for pdf Notice of public inquiry [205.37KB]

Icon for pdf Decision Notice [9.67KB]
Icon for pdf Application Plan [414.99KB]
Land adjacent to Greenhead Terrace and North Terrace, Chopwell, Tyne and WearIcon for pdf Notice of application [68.72KB]   


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