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Inspector Rejects New Village Green in Marlborough

Douglas Edwards QC
Jeremy Pike

Following a public inquiry held in January 2018, an inspector has recommended rejection an application made to register an area of open land at Barton Park, Marlborough, as a new village green. The application was objected to by Wiltshire County Council, as landowner, and by Marlborough College, who own adjoining land. The basis of the objection, and of the Inspector’s recommendation, was that the application land had been acquired, and subsequently held, by a predecessor local authority to the County Council expressly as “amenity open space” and, as such, the land must have been acquired pursuant to one of the suite of statutory powers by which land may be taken and held by a local authority for recreation purposes. Use of such land is therefore “by right” rather than “as of right”, following the decision of the Supreme Court in Barkas. The Objectors also produced substantial planning evidence to demonstrate that the application land was intended to perform the function as recreational open space to serve the wider Barton Park estate, of which it was a part. The Inspector’s report demonstrates how planning history can be direct and decisive relevance to the outcome of a TVG application.

At a meeting held on 22 March 2018, the relevant decision-making committee of the Commons Registration Authority accepted the Inspector’s recommendation and rejected the application.

Douglas Edwards QC represented Marlborough College, instructed by Berwin Leighton Paisner. Jeremy Pike represented Wiltshire County Council, as landowner.

The Inspector's report can be found here.