A recent ruling in which ‘village green’ status was withdrawn from an area of land in Dorset highlights the fact that the granting of village green status does not necessarily mean that the land will be free from the risk of development in perpetuity.

The Government is determined to free up more land for development. To this end, guidance to be issued shortly will make it more difficult for a community to achieve registration of land as a village green and make it easier for developers to apply for such land to be deregistered.

However, all is not plain sailing for developers. A well-reported case in which land in West Yorkshire that had been registered as a village green was ordered to be deregistered has now been overturned.

Deregistration was ordered originally because of a technicality. To qualify for village green status, the land has to have been used as a village green by a ‘significant number of inhabitants of a locality’. The developer successfully argued that the users of the land came from two different villages, neither of which was of sufficient administrative stature to meet the necessary qualifying criteria.

This decision has now been overturned.