Landmark village green win in Supreme Court
mobbsey at gn.apc.org
Fri Mar 5 18:43:21 GMT 2010
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Landmark village green win
Domenic Donatantonio, PlanningResource 3rd March 2010
Campaigners have won a landmark victory at the Supreme Court today to save a
seafront open space from developers.
A six-year battle by five local residents over the area at Redcar ended with
the local council being ordered to register Coatham common as a town or
The unanimous decision by five Justices is expected to have a major impact on
similar campaigns to save green sites, according to lawyers.
Friends of Coatham Common had applied to have the local authority-owned land
registered under the Commons Act in their fight to stop a £55 million housing-
They had to show that "as of right" they had used the land for sports and
pastimes for 20 years.
An inspector who conducted a public inquiry recommended the land should not be
registered after he found that although it had been used for sports for
decades, the locals had "deferred" to players when it was a golf course.
Both the High Court and Court of Appeal found in favour of the local council.
But Lord Walker, in the ruling today, said he had "great difficulty" in seeing
how a land owner would have concluded that residents were not asserting a
right to take recreation on the land "simply because they normally showed
civility - or in the inspector's word, deference - towards members of the golf
One of the leaders of The Friends of Coatham Common, Charlie Davis said: "This
is amazing. After years of battling to save this green space, where
generations of Coatham people have played football and cricket, we have finally
won the day."
Andrew Lockley, head of public Law at Irwin Mitchell, said: "I pay tribute to
the steely determination of the people of Coatham, who have finally triumphed
through setback after setback.
"This victory means that other groups who want to use green space and preserve
it from development will find it easier to do so. This is a very good day for
local campaigners who care about protecting green space in their community."
Planning permission was granted for the development in 2007.
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