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Either or: either village green or affordable housing. Is there a balance to find?

  Federation warning over ‘village green’ block on rural housing

  The National Housing Federation has claimed that opponents of new rural housing schemes are increasingly using Victorian ‘village green’ law to frustrate affordable housing schemes.

  The federation has complained that the tactic is costing taxpayers millions of pounds and delaying schemes for years.

  It has told the Government, which is reviewing the issues surrounding village registration, that not-for-profit housing charities/builders across the country have been affected by local residents claiming that land due to be developed should be reclassified as a village green and protected from development.

  The delaying tactic is hugely costly both in monetary terms and in the time wasted in dealing with the application, argued the federation.

  It has highlighted the fact that in the Peak District plans to build 600 new affordable homes have been put on hold for more than two years after a number of village green applications were made by opponents of the schemes.

  The federation has pointed out that opponents of new housing are using two 19th century laws – The Enclosure Act 1857 and the Commons Act 1876 – which make it a criminal offence to do anything that may injure the green, or interrupt the use of enjoyment of it as a place for exercise or recreation by placing anything on the green.

  Federation chief executive David Orr said: “Village greens play an important part in community life in many villages and towns, and genuine greens need the full protection of the law"

  “However, increasing numbers of people are submitting inappropriate village green applications in a cynical attempt to stop the building of new homes – sometimes delaying the delivery of desperately needed new housing by years and wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money in the process.

  “We welcome the Government’s decision to review the village green registration process. However, it is critical that ministers move quickly to change the law so that the NIMBYs are stopped from abusing the system.”

  Read the National Housing Federation press release

 

  Roger Milne, Planning portal

  18 February 2010

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