Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how public law regulates the relationship between private landowners and users of town and village greens. It explores the scope of the public law which permits the exercise of customary rights of recreation over private property, and considers the limits that exist within the current regulatory framework. In particular the paper explores how subsidiary considerations such as protection of the environment have become increasingly relevant to the disputes involving town and village greens. Design/methodology/approach – The analysis is based on a critical appraisal of recent judgments, academic literature and policy papers which address the regulation of town and village greens. Findings – The paper determines that the current regulatory framework fails to sufficiently protect landowners against opportunistic claims for registration of a town and village green. Specifically the paper identifies that gaps exist both in the substance of the statute and the judicial application of these provisions, and that the Human Rights Act 1998 offers insufficient protection for landowners. Originality/value – The paper examines recent case law where there is evident judicial conflict on the scope and application of the legislative provisions. The paper considers this judicial debate within the context of the DEFRA consultation document 2011 and the Growth and Insfrastructure Bill 2012.
International Journal of Law in the Built Environment – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 12, 2013
Keywords: Case law; Public law; Town and village greens; Environment; Customary rights
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