HUDDERSFIELD MP Barry Sheerman, has demanded that the Government clarify its policy on village greens following concerns that a new bill could make them more vulnerable.
The issue is a particularly sensitive one in Kirklees given the landmark legal battle currently ensuing between the would-be developers of the Edgerton and Birkby beauty spot Clayton Fields and its protectors.
A pressure group, The Open Spaces Society, fears clause 13 of The Growth and Infrastructure Bill will make it: “more difficult, if not downright impossible to register land in England as a town or village green once it has been identified for development” which has been a major issue in the Clayton Fields saga.
The society’s general secretary Kate Ashbrook said: “The Government wants to stop ‘vexatious’ applications to register greens which it claims are being submitted solely to thwart development.
“In fact few applications are purely vexatious and the clause has the effect of killing genuine applications too.”
The group called on MPs who had such greens in their constituency to speak against this clause which is at the committee stage.
Mr Sheerman recently put the following question to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government: “Will the Secretary of State reassure my constituents, many of whom have fought hard for traditional community and village greens?
“He will know that some of the developers are absolutely ruthless.
“In Huddersfield, a company called Paddico has bought up bankrupt stock and then spent enormous amounts of money trying to reverse a High Court decision about a village green.