Land is formally declared a ‘village green’

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Four and a half acres of open space at Abbey Road, Steyning, is to be registered as a village green by West Sussex County Council.

The move has been welcomed by The Open Spaces Society - Britain’s oldest national conservation body.

The Friends of Abbey Road Open Space applied to register the land as a ‘green’ almost two years ago on the grounds that local people had used the land for 20 years without being stopped or asking permission, ie ‘as of right’.

The Friends submitted evidence from 61 witnesses who confirmed that they had used the land in this way.

The landowner, Steyning Parish Council, had posted a notice on the land on 25 July 2014, in which it gave the public permission to use it, which was a challenge to the use as of right. Local people therefore had to demonstrate 20 years use up to the date of challenge.

The county council considered that local people had satisfied all the tests for registering the land and, on June 7, resolved that the land be registered as a green. This gives local people the legal right to use the land for informal recreation and protects it from development.

Nicola Hodgson, spokeswoman for the Open Spaces Society which helped the local people to register the Memorial Playing Field at Steyning in 2013 said: “The Friends of Abbey Road Open Space submitted a strong application showing widespread use of the land by the local community.

“ We congratulate them on their success in protecting the land as a village green for future generations.”