Common land and village greens

We are responsible for the management of five commons in Stevenage:

  • Fishers Green Common
  • Letchmore Common
  • Norton Green Common
  • Six Hills Common
  • Symonds Green

Management of Commons

The commons in Stevenage are managed under the Scheme of Regulation and Management Commons Act 1899. 

The Church Commission has covenant over most our commons.  This means that we must consult with them before we break ground.

Statutory protection of common land

Common land is protected under several Acts of Parliament. Listed below are brief summaries of the most relevant Acts. You will need to undertake further research if you wish to find out more about specific Acts of Parliament.

The Law of Property Act 1925 (Section 194)

Under this Section, it is unlawful to construct buildings, erect fences or carry out any other works which prevent access to common land unless the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has given permission, or unless the erection of fences will help to prevent accidents. In deciding whether or not to give permission, the Secretary of State has to take into account the benefits to the neighbourhood and to any private interests in the land.

The Law of Commons Amendment Act 1893 (Section 2)

Any inclosure or approvement of a common (removal of common rights and enclosure of the land) is not lawful unless the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has granted permission. In deciding whether or not to give permission, the Secretary of State will consider the proposal in relation to the benefit to the neighbourhood, why it is necessary to use the common land, etc.

National Trust Acts 1907 (Section 29) and 1971 (Section 23)

Section 29 of the 1907 Act requires the National Trust to keep all commons or commonable land open and unbuilt on  as open spaces for the recreation and enjoyment of the public.

Road Traffic Act 1988 (Section 34)

This makes it unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle on any common land (as well as some other types of land ) without lawful authority (usually, this would be the permission of the landowner). It is not an offence to drive on land in emergency situations. Parking or driving of a vehicle on the land without the landowner's permission would also constitute trespass.

Vehicular access

Section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000 permits the grant of statutory easements for vehicular access over land (including common land and village greens) where it is currently an offence to drive a vehicle, subject to certain qualifying criteria being met.

 

Useful links

DEFRA - Common Land and The Commons Act 2006

Church Commission

Stevenage Borough Council is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Contact details

Grounds Maintenance
Stevenage Borough Council
Daneshill House
Stevenage
Herts
SG1 1HN

01438 242323
depot.reception@stevenage.gov.uk