Barkas - Village Greens- could not be registered where use permitted by statute- mind your ‘as’

Barkas - Village Greens- could not be registered where use permitted by statute- mind your ‘as’

In Barkas v North Yorkshire County Council [2014] UKSC 31 the Supreme Court decides that land could not be registered as a town and village green (TVG) where its use by the public was permitted by statute. In doing so, it confirms a previous decision of the House of Lords is no longer good law.

The facts?

Helredale playing field (the field) is situated in Whitby, North Yorkshire and is owned by Scarborough Borough Council. The field is approximately two hectares and was acquired in 1951 by the predecessor local authority to the council, who maintained the field as ‘recreation grounds’ pursuant to HA 1936, s 80(1) (now section HA 1985, s 12).  In October 2007 the Helredale Neighbourhood Council applied to the North Yorkshire County Council to register the field as a TVG under Commons Act 2006 (CoA 2006), s 15. An inquiry commissioned by North Yorkshire County Council concluded that, for at least the last fifty years, the field has been used extensively and openly by local inhabitants for informal recreation. The council arranges for the regular mowing of the grass and the marking out of the football pitch. Although a significant number of the inhabitants had indulged in lawful sports and pastimes on the land for at least 20 years, their use had not been ‘as of right’ even though the use met all of the other requirements of s 15. North Yorkshire County Council rejected the application to register the field as a TVG in October 2010. Christine Barkas, a member of the Neighbourhood Council, applied for judicial review of this decision. Her application was unsuccessful and the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed her subsequent appeal. Barkas v North Yorkshire County Council, [2012] All ER (D) 251 (Oct)

She appealed to the Supreme Court.

What is the law in this area?

CoA 2006, s 15 provides that a person may apply to register land as a TVG where:

  • a significant number of the inhabitants of

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About the author:
Joanna is a commercial property specialist. Prior to joining the LexisPSL Property team, she was a transactional lawyer. She qualified in 1995 at Shoosmiths and subsequently worked at Nabarro, Charles Russell, Bircham Dyson Bell and Pemberton Greenish. She has wide-ranging experience of all non-contentious property transactions, with a particular emphasis on landlord and tenant work.