Town and village greens are seen as valuable assets for the community but registration of a green has frequently been used as a potent weapon against development proposals. However, recent legislative changes will make it harder for local residents to register land as a green in order to oppose development.
Registration will no longer be possible where development plans have been put in place. So-called "trigger events" that now prevent registration include publication of a planning application, grant of planning permission, publication of a draft local plan that earmarks the land for potential development or the adoption of such a local plan. This change took effect from 25 April 2013.
In addition, from 1 October 2013, landowners will be able to deposit a formal "landowner's statement" with the county council or London borough to end public use of their land. Previously, landowners had to take steps to prevent the public use of their land, for example by fencing it off, to be able to stop local residents from later claiming 20 years of recreational use "as of right".
This latest change comes as village greens fall under the spotlight in London following Lambeth Council's decision to reject an application by skateboarders to register an undercroft at the Southbank Centre as a green in order to prevent redevelopment of the site.