Green is a lovely area in Merryfield Drive comprising
open space and a large pond. It has been used by local
residents for informal recreation since the area was
developed for housing in the early 1950s. The grass
areas are maintained by West Sussex County Council as
highway land although they do not own it. The pond
itself was restored and is now maintained by a group
of local residents.
In March 2005 on behalf of local residents the Horsham
Society applied to WSCC to register the land as a town
green under the Commons Registrations Act 1965.
Registration would protect the land against
development and formally recognise its use as a public
Progress has been slow due in part to uncertainty over
some aspects of the law, the ownership of the land,
and the introduction of the Commons Act 2006. In
February 2007, after further consultation with
residents, we reaffirmed our application for
registration under the 2005 Act.
The Commons Act 2006 provides for landowners is they
wish to voluntarily register land and as this would
considerably shorten the legal process WSCC has
approached the owners to see if they would be prepared
to do so. If not, our application will proceed under
the 2005 Act.
There are many greens in the town which would benefit
from the protection afforded by registration but the
process is onerous and residents have to be able to
prove that the land has been used for informal
recreation for at least 20 years. If you know of an
area near you which should be registered and are
prepared to organise the collection of evidence please
contact the Horsham Society and we will try to help.
Further information is available from the Open Spaces
Update 20 May 2008
On Monday the WSCC Rights of Way Committee approved
the registration of Cootes Green as a Town Green. This
is both a terrific outcome for the local residents who
have put so much work into preparing their case and an
important landmark for the town as a whole. The
challenge now is for others to work as hard to protect
their local public greens. The Horsham Society is
happy to provide advice and support.