As the commons registration authority for North Lincolnshire, we are responsible for maintaining and updating the register of commons and village greens for the area.
- We update the registers when ownership of common rights change, or where rights are apportioned (although the circumstances in which we can amend the registers are limited)
- We amend the registers when we are notified by the Land Registry of changes in ownership of land and we can amend the registers in some instances to show changes in address
- We are responsible for registering new village greens
- We also carry out searches of the registers.
This includes updating the registers when ownership or common rights change, or where rights are apportioned. We amend the registers when we are notified by the Land Registry of changes in ownership of land and we can amend the registers in some instances to show changes in address. We are also responsible for registering 'new' village greens.
The registers are available for public inspection on Mondays to Fridays (except public holidays) between the hours of 9.30am and 4pm.
What information is in the Registers?
Each area of common land or town or village green listed in the Registers has a unique 'Unit Number'. The prefix ‘CL’ indicates common land, whereas ‘VG’ indicates a town or village green.
Each registration is divided into three sections showing details of:
- Land - this includes a description of the land, who registered it and when the registration became finally registered. There are also related plans which show the boundaries of the land
- Rights - this includes a description of the rights of common (ie the right to graze 100 sheep), over which area of the common they are exercisable, and the name of the person (the 'commoner') who holds those rights
- Ownership - this includes details of owners of the land. However, entries in this section of the registers are not held to be conclusive.
What is common land?
Common land is land, usually in private ownership, that has rights of common over it.
There are generally six recognised rights of common:
- Grazing sheep or cattle (herbage)
- Taking peat or turf (turbary)
- Taking wood, gorse or furze (estovers)
- Taking of fish (piscary)
- Eating of acorns or beechmast by pigs (pannage)
- The right to take sand, gravel, stone and minerals (common in the soil).
Members of the public now have a right of access on foot to nearly all Registered Common Land areas under rights bestowed through the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. This access on foot is in addition to any public rights of way across the common, or any other existing rights. However, there are still some commons which are excluded from the new rights of access, including those in private gardens.
The then Countryside Agency, have published conclusive maps for all areas showing the land (including commons) to which the public have access and the new open access rights are now in operation in all regions subject to any short or long term restrictions that may apply. More details about these access rights are available from the Open Access website administered by Natural England.
What is a town or village green?
Town or village greens share a similar history to common land. However, they are defined separately for the purposes of the Commons Act 2006. Village greens are usually areas of land within defined settlements or geographical areas which local people can go on to for the exercise of lawful sports and pastimes. Typically, these might include organised or ad-hoc games, picnics, fetes 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 community councils. Some greens may also have rights of common (for example; grazing of livestock) over them.
Applications for registration of a common or green can be made by virtue of section 15 of the Commons Act 2006.
To register a new village green you must prove that:
- The land is mainly used by ‘inhabitants of the locality’
- It is used for ‘lawful sports and pastimes’
- It has been used without the permission of the landowner, but without force or secrecy
- That it has been used as such for at least 20 years.
The application must be made using ‘Form 44’, which can be found on the Defra website, or by selecting the PDF document below.
You will also need to provide an appropriate map delineating the boundaries of the proposed village green, and any evidence in support of the claim. Any applications should be sent for the attention of Naomi Boyd, Environment Team, Church Square House, PO Box 42, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, DN15 6XQ
Once your application has been lodged, if it is considered to be validly made, then it will be advertised and an objection period of six-weeks will be given. It may then be necessary to hold an informal hearing to determine your application.
If you have any further queries regarding commons or village greens, please contact Naomi Boyd email@example.com or Colin Wilkinson firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tel: 01724 297000
Note: The above document is in Portable Document Format (PDF). You will need a suitable reader to view it. A reader can be downloaded free from the Adobe Website (full instructions for downloading the reader are provided on the site).