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Common Land And Village Greens

These are registers in which is recorded common land and town and village greens in Lincolnshire.  

For each piece of land there is a description, referring to the register map on which the boundaries of the land are shown, and saying who registered it and when.  The registers also show if there are any common rights over the land and who, if anyone, was registered as the owner of the land. In fact there are practically no rights of common registered in Lincolnshire.

Following the passing of the Commons Act 2006 it is intended that the ownership of common land and town and village greens will be recorded in the Land Registry.

Costs

If you want to make an official search in the registers it will be necessary to use form CON290. The charges for such searches relate to which questions are asked, and if you only ask the official question relating to common and town and village greens there will be no charge. The answer will tell you whether the land you are asking about is registered, and if you want further information you can use the contact information below. If you make a personal visit to look at the registers, there is no charge.

There is no charge for submitting an application to register land as a town or village green. However, if there are objections to the application it may go to a non-statutory public inquiry and the applicant will have to bear any costs they incur.

Common Land and Village Greens Definition

Common Land

Common land is usually privately owned, and either now or in the past has had common rights over it. In other parts of England common land is often open, unfenced and remote, but much of the registered common land in Lincolnshire consists of small areas. These areas might have been waste of the manor or were allotted under enclosure awards in the 18th or 19th centuries for digging sand or gravel for road maintenance. There are also several green lanes registered as common land.

Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 the general public have access to open countryside, including access to registered common land. This law does not relate to town or village greens which are for the use of local inhabitants.

The Countryside Agency have published maps showing the land (including commons) where the public have access. See weblinks.

Rights of common can include:

Grazing sheep or cattle (herbage)
Eating of acorns or beechmast by pigs (panage)
The people who are able to exercise the rights listed above are generally known as “commoners”. Common land and rights are a very ancient institution - even older than Parliament itself. They are part of the fabric of life in England and Wales and have their origins in the manorial system. Most common land and rights came to an end over the centuries and it is mainly in the more remote areas that common rights have survived.

Town or Village Green

Town and village greens share a similar history to common land. However, they are defined separately for the purposes of the Commons Registration Act 1965 and the Commons Act 2006. Village greens are usually areas of land within defined settlements or geographical areas which local inhabitants have a legal right to go onto for the exercise of lawful sports and pastimes. Typically these might include organised or ad-hoc games, picnics, fetes, dog-walking and other similar activities. Whilst land forming town or village greens may be privately owned, many greens are owned and maintained by local Parish or Town Councils.

Registers

The registers are statutory documents under the Commons Act 2006 and show all registered land within the area of Lincolnshire County Council.   North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council have the registers for land in their areas.   Each area of common land and town or village green is listed in the registers under a “Unit Number”.  A “CL” prefix indicates the land is common and a “VG” defines the land as town or village green. 

When registration was carried out in the late 1960s there were four separate registration authorities, for the Holland, Kesteven and Lindsey divisions of the county and for Lincoln City, and each of those parts has its own series of Register Unit numbers.

Each Register Unit has three sections:

  • Land - This includes a description of the land, who registered it, and when it became final, and whether it is a new registration under section 13 of the Commons Registration Act 1965 or section 15 of the 2006 Act.
  • Rights - This includes a description of any rights of common (e.g. a right to graze 60 beasts), over which area of the common they are exercisable, the name of the person (the “commoner”) who holds those rights, and whether the rights happen by virtue of a separate land ownership by the commoner (ie they are “attached” to other land).  In Lincolnshire there are 88 pieces of common land, but only six of them have any registered common rights.
  • Ownership - This includes details of owners of common land and town or village greens. However not all Register Units have a registered owner, and if we are informed that ownership is registered at the Land Registry there will be a note to that effect and details will not be shown in these registers.

When the Commons Act 2006 was fully implemented each Register Unit only needed to have the Land and Rights sections.

Statutory Protection of Common Land

Common land is protected under several Acts of Parliament. These include:

The Law of Property Act 1925
The Law of Commons Amendment Act 1893
The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960
The Road Traffic Act 1988

Section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 permits the grant of statutory easements for vehicular access over land (including common land and village greens) where it is currently an offence to drive a vehicle, subject to certain qualifying criteria being met. Regulations now made by the Secretary of State include provisions for the grant of easements, compensation to be paid by the property owner to the landowner, dispute resolution procedures etc.

Statutory Protection of Town and Village Greens

Village greens enjoy statutory protection under two 19th century Acts - the Inclosure Act 1857 (section 12) and the Commons Act 1876 (section 29). Section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, referred to above, applies to town and village greens as well as to common land.

Contacts

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Last updated: 5 December 2017

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