Town or village greens and common land

How to apply to register a green or common, or view, search or correct the commons registers.

1 Apply to register a green

Generally you can apply to the County Council to register land as town or village green if you can show it has been consistently used by local people for lawful sports and recreation for at least 20 years 'as of right' - this means without permission, force or secrecy. 

A landowner can apply to register land voluntarily.

You cannot apply to register land as a green if it is affected by, or identified for, potential development in the planning system. 

Further information about registering and an application form can found on the GOV.UK website.

All persons giving evidence in support of an application will need to complete an individual evidence questionnaire. As explained in the guidance notes on the GOV.UK website, these are available from the Open Spaces Society direct. You may also use the County Council’s form for this purpose.

2 View the registers

The registers and register maps are held at County Hall, Chichester and can be viewed free of charge during normal office hours. Call one of the numbers below before coming to make an appointment to ensure that a member of staff is available.

The registers have entries relating to:

  • a description of the land registered
  • who has commoners’ rights and what those rights are
  • who claimed to own the land when it was first registered (generally in the 1960s and 70s).

3 Search the registers

If you need to carry out an official search of the registers you will need to submit form Con29(O) to the appropriate district or borough council in West Sussex, in whose area the property lies.  

Details of the fees can be found on the council sites linked to below:

4 Correct mistakes in the registers

You can now apply to the County Council in certain circumstances to make a corrective application under section 19(2)(a), or under paragraphs 6–9 inclusive of Schedule 2 of the Commons Act 2006.

Corrective applications can be made to amend commoners’ rights or remove ‘buildings’ or ‘other land’ that were wrongly registered as either common land or town or village green.

It has to be shown that an error occurred with the original registration.

The current fee for making an application is £800.25. Additional fees will be payable if the matter has to be referred to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) for determination, possibly at a local public inquiry.

Current PINS costs are:

  • applications under paragraph 6 - £3,400
  • applications under paragraph 7 - £2,800
  • applications under paragraph 8 - £3,800
  • applications under paragraph 9 - £3,400.

Additional costs can be awarded to an applicant and any objector if someone has acted unreasonably and the case goes to a local public inquiry.

Further information about applying to rectify the registers and the necessary application forms can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Last updated:
5 April 2018

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