Following a Public Inquiry, an Inspector has recommended Gloucestershire County Council refuse an application to register land at Newent as a village green.
The land in question, measuring some 4.5 hectares, is owned by Robert Hitchins Ltd. and is allocated for housing in the Development Plan. A planning application had been submitted to the local planning authority, seeking permission for residential development. Local residents had sought to frustrate the company's efforts by attempting to have the land registered as a town or village green. However the Inspector, Leslie Blohm QC, concluded that the application should be refused on a number of grounds. Significantly, he determined that the use relied upon by the applicant did not amount to use by the inhabitants of a distinct 'neighbourhood' for the purposes of the legislation. In addition, he concluded that act of erecting notices (stating merely that the land was private property) and fencing (which partially - but not entirely - prevented access to the land) was sufficient to render future use of the land by local residents contentious. Finally, the Inspector determined that the character of the use was not such as only to be consistent with use of the land as a village green, as opposed to use as a right of way.
Robert Hitchins Ltd. were represented at the public inquiry by Charles George QC and Alexander Booth.