10 January 2010

The Politics of Bogus Village Greens


The Campaign for Real Village Greens was established so the great village green swindle can be given its proper amount of publicity.  An evil, once exposed, is halfway to being defeated.

Since the Campaign's website went live, exposing bogus village green antics all over the country, we are delighted to report that Questions in Parliament have now been asked on this subject by representatives of all the main political parties.

For the Conservatives, their Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Caroline Spelman:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria are used to determine the designation of designated green space or common recreational area as a village green; and what information his Department holds on the number of areas registered as village greens.”

For the Liberal Democrats, their Spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Spokesperson for Communities and Local Government is one and the same. Lord Greaves:

"To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the National Common Land Stakeholder Group was not consulted on the proposal to consult in spring 2010 on whether to reform the town and village greens registration system;

what will be the timescale and cost of the proposed consultation in spring 2010 on whether to reform the town and village greens registration system; and whether the consultation will include all commons or only town and village green;

what representations they received on the town and village greens registration system between the implementation of section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 and the commissioning of the Study of Determined Town and Village Green Applications, produced by Countryside and Community Research Institute and Asken Limited;

how Her Majesty’s Government will implement the recommendations in sections 7.7, 7.8 and 7.9 of the Study of Determined Town and Village Green Applications."

Tom Levitt MP (Labour):

“To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what changes he plans to propose to guidelines on town and village greens to prevent their application to land which already has planning permission for development.”

The answer to Tom Levitt MP’s question was delivered on 14 December 2009, by Huw Irranca-Davies on behalf of the Government:

“DEFRA recently received the final report of research into the registration of new town or village greens: 'Study of registered town and village greens and the attitudes towards applications'. A summary of the research, together with the final report, is available on the DEFRA website.

"The findings of the research, as well as feedback from local authorities and others, lead me to conclude that there is sufficient evidence to justify a review of the existing system, with a view to exploring possible changes. Therefore, DEFRA plans to consult in spring 2010 on whether there is a need for reform of the registration system, and the options for reform that exist.”

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