The relevant piece of law is The Commons Act 2006. This allows for applications to be made to register land as a new village green, provided that the land in question has been used:
- for a period of at least 20 years
- for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes
- ‘as of right’ (i.e. without force, secrecy or permission)
- by the inhabitants of a locality, or a neighbourhood within a locality.
The Save Our Downs campaign collected 1,119 ‘witness statements’ with 1,181 signatures – my thanks to all of you. These witness statements are formal, signed declarations supporting the village green application, from people who use The Downs.
- they cover an unbroken period of more than 85 years (over 27,000 years of use in total!)
- they paint a clear picture of harmless and lawful enjoyment of The Downs by the people of Herne Bay: Football, Dog walking, Cricket, Bird watching, Walking for pleasure, Drawing and painting, Picnicking, Sitting to watch the view, Kite flying, Team games, Running, Picking blackberries, Watching fireworks, Bicycle riding, Tobogganing, Sports training and many others (including the delightful addition of “Courting”).
- nobody has had to force their way on to The Downs, or used The Downs secretly, or sought permission from anyone
- more than 95% came from people who live in the CT6 post code area, i.e. Herne Bay