Registering land as a town or village green was once the ‘ace up the sleeve’ of those looking to obstruct development, but since Government legislation introduced measures to moderate applications, it’s the developers who are coming up trumps.
Changes to the town and village green (TVG) regime were introduced in April 2013 by the Growth and Infrastructure Bill. One of these changes is that an application to register a piece of land as a TVG is now prevented when a ‘trigger event’ has occurred. For example, it’s no longer possible to apply for registration once an application for planning or development consent has been publicised in respect of the land.
In addition, as of 1 October 2013, landowners can register statements of intent with the Commons Registration Authority, which asserts that their land has not been used as a TVG. If the statement is deposited before a 20 year period of use has accrued, users of that land will be unable to claim that they have used it long enough for it to qualify as a TVG. If 20 years use has already been established, the landowner statement activates a 12 month grace period in which a TVG application can be submitted; but beyond that period, an application cannot be made.
As a result of these changes, the risk of a TVG application to landowners and developers has reduced; so the demand for our Town and Village Green indemnity cover has decreased too.
However, where a developer is acquiring land for development without the benefit of planning consent, we are seeing a number of enquiries for insurance on a ‘pre-planning’ basis to cover the period from acquisition until a planning application is submitted, which we can still consider. Our policy in these cases covers the developer and their lender against abortive or contractual costs and other fees, and runs until the date of the planning application, or for 3 months, whichever is sooner.
As yet, the changes and trigger events introduced by the Growth and Infrastructure Bill are untested in law and, as a consequence, we still receive requests for TVG ‘comfort’ policies on a post-planning basis too, which we are also happy to take a look at.
So, if you’re dealing with a case that may require our TVG cover, please feel free to send it our way by calling 01603 617617 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.