Village Green – Inspector’s report

Five months after the public hearing, we’ve at last received the Inspector’s report on our August 2007 Village Green application. Unfortunately her recommendation to the County Council is to turn the application down. We met nearly all the criteria, but lost on what seems like an extraordinary technicality. She was satisfied that enough people, from a distinct enough locality, have used both parts of the Common, for long enough, and for a sufficiently wide range of activities. But we failed to exercise our right to do so at haymaking time, when people kept out of the way of the mower, and walked around rather than through the piles of cut grass. “They could have chosen to walk in front of the tractor or to walk across the lying lines of hay, but they did not.” That, it seems, is enough to argue that we didn’t use the Common “as of right”, and so in her view it does not qualify as a Village Green. This is an ambiguous legal area and has been subject to appeals by other groups seeking Village Green status. The County Council will make a formal decision on our application in July.