You have the ‘right to roam’ on registered common land – you may use town or village greens for ‘lawful sports and pastimes’, for example playing football or walking your dog.
For more information on common land and village greens please visit GOV.UK
Applications to register new village greens
If it can be shown that a new green exists through long use of the land by a local community, members of the public may be able to apply to register that land as a village green.
The law around this subject is particularly complex and the procedure can be very long. We will help as much as possible to clarify the process, but we cannot give legal advice to applicants or landowners affected by applications.
If an application for planning permission to develop the land in question has already been made, the Registration Authority may not proceed with your application.
Landowners do have the power to voluntarily dedicate land as a village green, which is a simpler process.
If you are considering applying to register a new village green, please consult the guidance on the following link. Please also take independent advice before starting the application process.
The registers of Common Land and Town and Village Greens are statutory documents and show all such registered land in Warwickshire. Each registered area is listed under a unique ‘unit number’. A ‘CL’ prefix defines the land as common, and a ‘VG’ prefix defines the land as town or village green.
Each registration is divided into three sections:
- Land – describing the land, who registered it and when. There are also related plans which show the boundaries of the land.
- Rights – includes a description of the rights of common (i.e. the right to graze sheep or other animals), over which area of the common they are exercisable, the name of the person (the ‘commoner’) who holds those rights
- Ownership – includes details of owners of common land and village greens. However, it is important to note that the registers do not give conclusive proof regarding ownership and you should not rely on the register for that purpose. To investigate ownership, use the Land Registry at the following link.
Public inspection of the registers
The registers are available for public inspection. You can make an appointment to view the registers by contacting us. However, we are not able to validate the results of a personal inspection.
Alternatively, we can perform an official search and provide copies of the register:
- A minimum of £15 for up to 5 sheets
- £25 for between 5 and 10 sheets
- And £1 per sheet thereafter
Please email enquiries regarding the inspection of the registers to [email protected]
The register map
Every entry in the register corresponds to a sheet in the maps of common land or town and village green. An extract from the map sheet referring to the village of Warmington is given below as an example.
Searching the registers
It is possible to carry out a search of the registers to confirm whether a particular piece of land is registered as common land or village green. A solicitor or conveyancer will normally carry out a search when a property is being bought or sold.
A request for a search should be made as part of a ‘local search’ application to the district or borough council in which the land is situated. There will be a charge for this service, which may vary from council to council.
Search certificates will show whether the land is registered as common or village green, whether there are rights of common, and whether or not ownership is registered. Depending on the outcome of the search, we may be able to provide additional information and copies of the registers, upon payment of the fees mentioned above.
Questions and clarifications
Although we are unable to supply specific legal advice, we will try to help to resolve issues.
Works on common land
If you are going to carry out works on or next to common land, please check the Planning Portal – Planning Inspectorate on the following link
Can I drive across common land or village greens to get to my property?
The law on this topic is not straightforward and the answer will depend on the individual piece of land. Defra can give more guidance on this
Do you think there is a mistake in the register?
There are few circumstances under which the register may be amended. Please refer to the following guidance describing when it may be possible to apply to the county council for this purpose:
How to register and deregister common land
For more information, use the following link.
In cases where an application is possible a fee of £1,000 is payable to the County Council on lodging the application.
Register of Landowner Declarations
As described in the document “How to register and deregister common land” Landowners are able to lodge a Declaration which will have the effect of preventing applications for new village greens on land unless they are made within one year of the lodging of the Declaration.