7.1 Carrie Denness, Principal Lawyer, gave a detailed presentation of the report, aided by a power-point presentation, on the application to register land off Hardings Drive, Stinchcombe Hill, Dursley Gloucestershire, as a town or village green under Section 15 (2) of The Commons Act 2006. (For information – A copy of the slides is included in the minute book and has been uploaded to the Council’s website).
7.2 During a detailed introduction the Principal Lawyer highlighted that the application before the Committee primarily failed on the legal test regarding neighbourhood. She explained that the Inspector did not hear or see evidence to determine that the claimed neighbourhood within the Kingshill and Central Wards of Dursley was in fact a neighbourhood within the meaning of the Commons Act 2006.
7.3 The Committee noted the detailed findings of the Inspector following the non-statutory inquiry which took place between the 2-6 October 2017. This included an accompanied site visit and closing submissions on the 6 October 2017.
7.4 The Principal Lawyer informed the Committee that the application did not follow the standard procedure, given the landowners as objectors did not play a full role in the non-statutory public inquiry. She explained that due to the landowners not having complied with the Inspectors directions, in regards to submitting their evidence before the deadline date, they were only permitted to attend and address the Inquiry as general members of the public.
7.5 The Principal Lawyer informed the Committee that the Inspector had ascertained that there were no community facilities within the claimed neighbourhood, and there were no local organisations or associations which were common to the whole of the claimed neighbourhood. Whilst the individual roads which made up the claimed neighbourhood were all clustered around the Application Land, they were not all physically connected. Access to the Application Land could only be gained through one of the roads. The Committee noted that none of the applicants’ witnesses were able to satisfactorily explain why the neighbourhood was a genuine neighbourhood beyond reference to the Application Land itself.
7.6 The Principal Lawyer informed the Committee that as a result of the findings the Inspector had concluded that the claimed neighbourhood was an artificial construct for the purposes of the application.
7.7 The Committee was informed that the Inspector had considered the other elements of the legal test for completeness. The result of this was that the Inspector did not see or hear evidence that was considered sufficient for her to conclude that there had been consistent and regular use of the whole of the Application Land for lawful sports and pastimes throughout the whole of the 20 year application period (i.e. 30 September 1993 to 30 September 2013). The Inspector had determined that the land was mainly used for footpath type use.
7.8 Having considered the information before it including the Inspector’s Recommendation, the Committee
That the Application dated 30 September 2013 made by Mr and Mrs Andrews (‘The Applicants’) for the registration of an area of land off Hardings Drive, Stinchcombe Hill, Dursley, Gloucestershire (as shown edged red on the plan attached to the Application at Appendix 1) as a town or village green pursuant to section 15(2) of the Commons Act 2006 be REJECTED for the reasons set out in the Inspector’s report dated 1 January 2018 attached at Appendix 2 of the report.