Hannington Parish Council, Hampshire
Ownership of Hannington Village Green
The Parish Council Minutes of its meeting on 8th September 2015, records that,
"the investigation by the Parish Council, following a question by the internal auditor’s regarding ownership of the village green, has identified that the village green was registered by the Commons Commissioner in 1978 to Kingsclere Parish Council. At that time, Hannington Parish Council (HPC) did not exist – Hannington was a Ward of Kingsclere.
Hampshire County Council’s Register of Town and Village Greens records the village green and registers it as VG60. The Clerk [Hannington Parish Council] informed Kingsclere PC (KPC) of this situation on 20th August 2015 and asked if they had any objections to HPC seeking formal transfer of the registration of the village green from KPC to HPC"
Kingsclere PC quickly confirmed they would support the transfer of registration of the ‘village green’ from them to HPC, and HPC contracted with Hampshire County Council - Legal services to progress the transfer/registration.
The Clerk reminded HCC Legal Services that a key question for the Parish Council and for the residents who are on the boundary of the Green was “what exactly is the area of land that is actually deemed to be the village green and therefore our [Parish Council] responsibility, and what is, by default, owned by the properties that are on its boundary, or the responsibility of the highways authority? The key issue here was that, of the four roads that are boundaries to the village green, two roads are adopted by HCC Highways Dept but two are not 'adopted'. The costs of maintenance of the two 'unadopted roads' will NOT be met by HCC. Legal Services advised that VG60 was the legally designated 'Village Green', and the transfer/registration would have to reflect the boundary as stipulated in the VG60.
Hannington Parish Council agreed at its meeting in September 2016 to establish a 'Provision for the Repair and Maintenance of the Unadopted Roads' in order that it has the necessary financial resources to meet those costs as and when they arise in the future. It was agreed that £1,000 is to be earmarked from the General Reserve in the Final Accounts 2016-17; with further sums (thought to be in region of £700 per annum) being earmarked in following years, subject to the overall financial position of the Council. The provision for repair and maintenance is to meet the obligation on the parish council to repair part of the unadopted road that it is responsible for as the Village Green owner.
On 9th September 2016, the Clerk received email confirmation from HCC Legal Services that the Parish Council’s application for registration of the village green by the Land Registry had been finalized, and that Hannington Parish Council is now the registered proprietor of the Village Green. Copies of the Land Registry documents dated 3rd November 2016 are available below. The 'Village Green' will be included in the Council's Fixed Asset Register with effect from 31st March 2017, and will be and shown at a NIL value. The Fixed Asset Register is a key supporting document in the Council's Final Accounts, and is subject to audit scrutiny
Village Green Licence
As the owners of the village green, the Parish Council provides a licence for 'free' to anyone wishing to use the village green for an approved event. A request for a Village Green Licence should be submitted to the Parish Clerk in the first instance. The Parish Council's primary interest is the welfare of participants and residents, and that the appropriate Health & Safety controls are covered by the event organisers.
There is a small but ‘material’ problem of ‘dog fouling’ on the village green. The residual ‘evidence’ is then potentially spread when the village green is mowed, and any disease with it. It is unreasonable to expect the person mowing the green to undertake a tidy-up exercise before the work can be started.
The problem may be caused by dogs of people visiting the village or by dogs belonging to residents, letting them have ‘free rein’ on the village green and not ‘clearing up’ afterwards. The Council confirmed a previous decision that it does not want to put up Warning Notices on the village green, nor does it want to erect a ‘dog pooh bin’; not least because it would then be necessary for the Parish Council to arrange to have it regularly emptied.
The Council decided at this stage NOT to seek a Public Spaces Protection Order Part 4, chapter 2 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014; but would review this option if all else fails!