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Andrew Mitchell MP backs Walmley village green application

Andrew Mitchell MP is supporting Walmley residents in their quest for village green status for the former Hardy Spicer Sports Ground.

The application, lodged by the Walmley is Full campaign group, is an attempt to block plans for a YMCA youth centre and up to 110 houses on the site, recently given the go ahead by city planners.

In a letter sent to Birmingham Chief Executive Stephen Hughes, Sutton’s MP says:

“I write to express my support for the application for village green status at the former Hardy Spicer Sports Ground in my constituency which I believe Birmingham City Council’s Commons Registration Authority has now received.

“I understand that under section 15 of the Commons Act 2006, land can be registered as a village green if it has been used by local people for recreation purposes without permission, force or secrecy for at least 20 years.

“The application submitted by the Walmley is Full group has my full support. I would be grateful, therefore, if you would ensure that my backing for this proposal is made known.”

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) town and village greens, once registered, are protected by:

  • Section 12 of the Enclosure Act 1857 against injury or damage and interruption to their use or enjoyment as a place for exercise and recreation. It is a criminal offence to cause injury or damage to village greens.
  • Section 29 of the Commons Act 1876 makes encroachment on, or enclosure of, a green, and interference with or occupation of the land, illegal unless it is with the aim of improving the enjoyment of the green.

Andrew Mitchell MP said, “I would like to make very clear that our Councillors have worked extremely hard on local residents’ behalf in this matter and have had my full support in their efforts throughout.

“In this case the decision making process has taken place under Labour planning law. This legislation, which was introduced by John Prescott in the early days of the last Government, has proved to be particularly difficult and vexatious in Sutton Coldfield.

“The Government is making a number of radical reforms to the planning system in England, in order to restore democratic and local control. The Localism Bill, in partnership with new, hugely simplified, planning guidance will ensure that decision-making powers over planning are returned to local authorities and the communities they serve.”

Photo: The picture shows the sun setting over the former Hardy Spicer Sports Ground.


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