[Electoral Divisions: Penrith North]
To consider a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure (copy enclosed)
Members considered a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure which detailed an application received from Mr Peter Cresswell to register an area of land at Croft Terrace Penrith as a new town or village green.
The Application Land comprises of an area of maintained grassland located within a largely residential area within the Penrith North electoral ward. A plan showing the Application Land outlined in red was attached at Appendix 2 of the report.
The Applicant submitted the following evidence in support of the Application:-
• 33 user evidence questionnaires (26 of these were from inhabitants of the originally identified neighbourhood which consisted of 48 properties)
A Land Registry search confirmed that the vast majority of the Application Land was owned by Eden District Council.
One objection was received from Eden District Council, the registered proprietor of the majority of the Application Land. The Objector relied on the following grounds:
• The locality or neighbourhood within a locality had been insufficiently defined by the applicant.
• Any use of the land had not been ‘as of right’ but instead has been ‘by right’ with the permission of the Council
• The Council has asserted its rights as owner of the property by restricting certain activities on the land
• The land has been subject to a ‘trigger event’ and no ‘terminating event’ had occurred at the time of application.
The Applicant responded to the points raised by the Objector in a letter of 27 February 2017 and furthermore in a letter of 10 May 2017. Upon further questioning the Objector withdrew the part of their objection relating to trigger and terminating events.
In response to the Objector the Applicant also chose to submit further evidence of use in the form of a further 70 questionnaires from a total of 103 residents, although these questionnaires did not focus on the activities being carried out. Members noted that 19 of the additional questionnaires were submitted by residents who also submitted a questionnaire with the original application. During the notice period three emails were also received in support of the application.
Following an initial assessment of the Application and all subsequent material received the Planning Officer wrote to the Applicant on the 30 April 2018 advising that he was minded to recommend that the Application was refused on the grounds that the use of the land has been ‘by right’ not ‘as of right’.
Under 27(7) of the 2014 Regulations the Applicant was offered the chance to make oral representations to address the reasons given for our recommendation. The Applicant confirmed that he was happy for a Mr Graham Frost to present oral representations on his behalf and his views were heard at a meeting of 24 May 2018.
During the oral representations no evidence was put forward that changed the officers initial recommendation, and therefore he was recommending that the Committee refuse the Application.
The Local Member for Penrith North spoke to say she had found this application difficult, not in relation to the criteria and recommendations but due to the fact that she understood the strength of feeling in the community and their wish to avoid this area being developed. However, she believed this had been articulated clearly to Eden District Council and that this area of land had now been allocated in the local plan as an ‘open space’.
Members understood the issues and had sympathy for the community, but in this instance it was clear that the statutory criteria had not been met.
This was then put to a vote and with 17 for and 0 against it was
RESOLVED that, the Committee REJECT the application, on the grounds that the statutory criteria contained at section 15(2) of the Commons Act 2006 has not been established.
Following this item the Chair invited the Lead Officer – Historic Environment and Commons to update members on future applications to be considered by this committee.
The officer advised members that an additional Development Control and Regulation meeting had been provisionally booked for 6 December 2018, as Cumbria County Council as the Commons Registration Authority had received three applications from The Secretary of State for Defence, which sought to have the following land removed from the Register of Common Land and Town or Village Greens:
· CL26 Murton Fell
· CL27 Hilton Fell
· CL122 Burton Fell and Warcop Fell
Cumbria County Council had decided to hold a public inquiry, and had appointed Alan Evans of Counsel as the Inspector. The inquiry would open at County Hall at 10 am on 13 September 2018, and was due to close on 14 September 2018.
The Chair thanked the officer for the update.