In England and Wales local residents can acquire rights over a site if they can show that they have used it as a communal garden for more than 20 years. Local groups can register open land as a village green where they can prove that an identifiable neighbourhood has used the land for recreational purposes for the same period.


These rights stem from the Commons Act 2006 and the Commons Registration Act 1965 (with key additions added by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000).

The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 (Section 15) has introduced some changes whereby in England it is no longer possible to apply to register land as a village green if it has been earmarked for development. However, applications which have already been submitted will be processed as before.

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