Bad News for Shropshire Landowners and Developers
A local solicitor is sending out a warning to Shropshire landowners and developers asking them to be aware if their land falls into the category of "Common Land". The Commons Act 2006 changed the planning regime regarding common land and the changes that have been introduced could have unexpected consequences to those wishing to develop such land.
Andrew Evans of local Solicitors Lanyon Bowdler explains, "Common land is protected from development which interferes with the rights of common. This could prevent the owners of such land from undertaking developments which the planning authority regards as adversely affecting the interests of residents or the neighbourhood generally".
In particular, works which prevent or impede access to common land may not be carried out without consent. Land which is designated as a ‘green’ can now only be developed for the better enjoyment of the green itself, unless an exchange of land is agreed whereby the land being developed is replaced by other land.
The problem that this poses for owners and developers is that land could be designated as "a green", if it has been used as of right by a significant number of local inhabitants for 20 years. ‘Use as of right’ means that the land could be and was used without the permission of the landowner and that the landowner did not take steps to prevent its use.