The risk of a TVG application being made in respect of land which a developer has set its sights on has long been a cause for concern for landowners and house builders.

Developers have to date had some support under the legislation by virtue of the "trigger events" which are deemed to suspend the right to register land as a TVG. For instance once a planning application is submitted the right to apply to register the relevant property as a TVG is removed. The identification of land for potential development under a development plan document that has been adopted is another trigger event.

The outcome of a recent case, Cooper Estates Strategic Land v Wiltshire Council [2018] provides developers with scope to resist a TVG application in these circumstances. In this case Wiltshire Council, as the commons registration authority, agreed to register a parcel of land in Royal Wootton Bassett as a TVG. However the landowner challenged this decision on the ground that at the time that the application to register the land was made, Core Policy 1 and Core Policy 2 of the Wiltshire Core Strategy Development Plan Document 2015 created a presumption in favour of sustainable development in a number of named towns (including Royal Wootton Bassett) and so the land in question had been identified for potential development. The judge upheld this challenge and confirmed that by virtue of this presumption the parcel of land had been identified for potential development which equated to a "trigger event" and therefore the land should not have been eligible for registration as a TVG and the original decision to register the land was quashed.

Consequently, in the event that you face the threat of a TVG application, check the draft or adopted development plan as it may be possible to argue that a "trigger event" has already occurred if the land has been identified for potential development.