12 February 2010

Ten Years After


Way back in the year 2000, a chap called Tim Budd didn't like the idea of houses being built near where he lived.

A small roundabout was needed to improve access to the proposed new homes, and this would be laid over a small proportion of a massive area called Fairfield Common.  The houses were not to be on Fairfield Common, or indeed anywhere near it.

A claim that part of the land was a 'village green' was sent in to the registration authority and, amazingly, accepted.  There is of course no fee payable for sending off one of these forms.

So the roundabout improvement could not then go ahead, and for the want of a roundabout access was lost, and for the want of access, the new homes were lost.

There was appeal and counter appeal over the intervening years, new applications were made and inspectors were appointed.  Judges looked at the case, new witnesses were found after court decisions were made, decisions had to be expensively un-made, and so on.

The Law's Delay

Reminiscent of Jarndyce v Jarndyce, the interminable legal case at the centre of Bleak House, the so-called 'village green' claimants in this case have managed to inflict huge expense - which they will not be paying a penny of - and a delay of an astonishing ten years by miring the matter in legal quagmire.

Unless there is yet another appeal in the case, the registration authority have, on 8 February 2010, determined that there is no village green there.

Are You Local?

Traditional and genuine village greens arise solely from customary law, that is to say the local strands of the original common law of this country.

However, the land that was claimed to be a 'village green' in this case - solely to frustrate people's plans and people's homes - is in Buxton in Derbyshire while the applicant, Tim Budd, is from London.

It is also not controversial to point out that Mr Budd, who opposes homes for other people, doesn't mind living in a house himself.

And so ends another case of abuse of the well-intended but totally naive current legislation concerning the town and village greens of England.

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