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Act now to preserve your green havens, says Yeadon Banks preservation society
A conservation group that supported the fight to preserve Yeadon Banks is urging communities to protect their green space before it is too late.
The Open Spaces Society is making a last-minute call to communities to apply to register land as town or village greens before new legislation comes into being.
The society – Britain’s oldest conservation body – says the government’s Growth and Infrastructure Bill will “emasculate” the process of registering town or village greens.
It says at the moment land can be registered as a town or village green if local people have used it for informal recreation, without being stopped or asking permission, for at least 20 years. Once registered, the land is protected from development.
But it is warning that Clause 14 of the Growth Bill says that once land has been earmarked for development it cannot be registered as a green.
The society gave its support to the campaign to protect Yeadon Banks from potential development. But it says much-loved land such as this would have been prevented from becoming a village green if the proposed legislation had been in place.
Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: “Although we are fighting these proposals, along with many other organisations and individuals, we must prepare for the worst. The Bill could become law within three months, and then it will be too late to save land we love.
“Your new-year resolution must be to look around your patch and see if there is unprotected land which residents have used for 20 years for dog-walking, bird-watching or kicking a ball. “Do not assume that because you’ve always used the land it is safe: a developer may well have his eye on it. “You need to gather the evidence of use and apply to register it as a green now. Provided you get the application in to the local authority before the Bill becomes law, the authority will process it. Once the Bill is law, no land threatened by development can be registered.”