As you may know, one of our councillors recently resurrected the claim that village green status would somehow complicate, impede or prevent maintenance work being carried out on The Downs. I had already sent a letter to the Council’s Legal department (in January 2010) that explained why this was not the case, but this message seems not to have filtered through to all the councillors. So I sent them all a copy of the letter that I had sent to Legal, just to make sure that they’re up to date.
Cllr Vickery-Jones then sent all the councillors a message saying: “We are awaiting advice from our own legal department, it would be prudent not to form a view based on hearsay evidence before that advice is forthcoming.” Here I share with you, dear reader, my next salvo:
I have no wish to weary you with this email exchange, and hope that the following simple fact will finally resolve the question of maintenance of village greens:
Canterbury City Council already carries out maintenance work on village greens.
For example, at Whitstable:
- Within the last couple of years, CCC completely took over the western half of the village green between Island Wall and West Beach (VG 115) for a period of months, using it for timber storage and erecting a row of portacabins as offices for the workers.
- Similarly on the village green at Seasalter/West Beach (VG 126), the Council erected sea defences and brought in large quantities of shingle. CCC received no objections from the “inhabitants of the locality” to this work, because it was clearly in their interest, as would be any maintenance works on The Downs at Herne Bay.
The legal position requires no clarification. This is not hearsay, it is fact: village green status is no obstacle to the Council carrying out maintenance work.
Is that conclusive? Will it suffice? Stay tuned…