Here’s the latest from the village green registration people at Kent County Council.
Dear Reader, if you have any experience of Public Inquiries like this, do please get in touch with any tips and advice.
I am writing to update you regarding your Village Green application at The Downs at Herne Bay.
Due to the volume and complexity of this case, we have sought legal advice from Counsel as to how we should proceed. Counsel has very carefully considered all of the documentation submitted and the arguments raised. The advice received is that it is not possible for the matter to be resolved on paper and the case should properly be referred to a Public Inquiry for further consideration.
I have arranged for this matter to be referred to a meeting of the Regulation Committee Member Panel to seek authority to refer the case to a Public Inquiry. The date of the meeting will be Monday 13th June 2011 and my colleague Andrew Tait will be writing to you shortly with a more formal invitation and details of the time/venue etc.
The meeting on 13th June will be a Committee meeting. There will be a site visit in the morning followed by a more formal meeting in the afternoon at which point you will have a brief opportunity to make any representations to the Committee. Andrew will send further details in due course. The Public Inquiry, if approved by the Committee, is held locally and normally takes place about 3-4 months after the Committee date, depending on the availability of the parties and an Inspector.
Counsel’s advice was received in conference and as such there is no formal written advice. However, as a summary, Counsel raised concerns regarding the eastern part of the application site and, in particular, whether the correct procedures were followed in relation to the the CPO. Counsel was satisfied that, on the current authorities, where land is held under s164 it was not capable of registration as a VG, but felt that further information was required from CCC (e.g. minutes) to determine conclusively which parts of the site were held under this provision (which would, of course, also be directly relevant to the validity of the byelaws). It is not, in Counsel’s view, from the information currently available, possible to determine conclusively the manner in which the various pieces of land which make up the application site are held. In short, Counsel felt that there were still too many unanswered questions which require further clarification before a final decision can be reached.
I should stress that the Inspector who is appointed to hold the Public Inquiry will be a Barrister but is unlikely to be the same person. This means that they may take a slightly different view of the precise issues to be considered at the Public Inquiry and it will also depend on the view of the parties involved as to whether the Public Inquiry focuses on specific issues. This can be discussed nearer the time.