Common land and village greens
We are the Commons Registration Authority for the County of Durham and hold the Registers of all Common Land and Town or Village Greens across the County.
We are responsible for:
- Maintaining the Registers of Common Land and Town or Village Greens
- Processing applications to register new town or village greens under Section 15 of the Commons Act 2006
- Processing applications to amend the registers
Search the registers
The registers are held at:
To find out if an area of land is registered as common land or village green, you can request an official search by requesting additional Question 22 on the CON29(O) form as part of a local land charges search. A local land charges search is usually carried out when a property or plot of land is being purchased.
Alternatively you can contact us directly. You need to provide:
- a map which clearly identifies the land you wish to search
- a fee of £10 (cheques should be made payable to Durham County Council)
You can inspect them free of charge - contact us to make an appointment.
What is Common Land?
Common land is land, usually in private ownership, that has rights of common over it. Rights of common can include:
- grazing sheep or cattle (herbage)
- taking peat or turf (turbary)
- taking wood, gorse or furze (estovers)
- taking of fish (piscary)
- eating of acorns or beechmast by pigs (pannage)
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 permits public access to open countryside including access to common land. Natural England has published maps showing land (including commons) to which the public has access, subject to any short or long term restrictions.
What are town or village greens?
Village greens are usually areas of land within a locality or a neighbourhood within a locality which are used by local people for lawful sports and pastimes. While land forming town or village greens may be privately owned, many greens are owned and maintained by parish councils. Some greens may also have rights of common (for example, grazing of livestock) over them.
Village green boundaries can also be seen on the following map:
Apply to register land as a new town or village green
If you wish to apply to register land as a new town or village green, you need to show that the land has been used:
- for a period of at least 20 years
- for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes
- 'as of right' (without force, secrecy or permission)
- by a significant number of inhabitants of a locality, or a neighbourhood within a locality
The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 introduced certain trigger events which exclude the right to register an area of land, and corresponding terminating events which enable an application to be submitted.
- Gov.uk: guidance to commons registration authorities in England: Sections 15A to 15C of the Commons Act 2006
- Gov.uk: town and village greens: how to register
Landowner statements - village greens
Section 15A(1) of the Commons Act 2006 allows a landowner to deposit a statement and map which will bring to an end any period of recreational use 'as of right' over land to which the statement applies.
An application can also include a highways statement and declaration under Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980. More information on highways statements is available on our website.
Our Public Rights of Way and Village Green Landowner Deposits page lists The Register of Landowner Statements. We keep a paper version of the register at:
You can view this by appointment.
Corrective applications to amend the Registers of Common Land and Town or Village Greens in the following circumstances:
- The correction of a mistake made by us in making or amending an entry in the Registers of Common Land or Town or Village Green (Section 19(2)(a))
- The removal of buildings or land wrongly registered as Common Land or Town or Village Green (Schedule 2, paragraphs 6-9)
See the new regulations at Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014.
Download guidance on making an application and application forms from DEFRA's website at Gov.uk: common land - management, protection and registering to use and fees payable can be viewed in our table of fees.
Please contact us to return your application form and fees.
See below a list of application and decision notices to register or de-register common land or new town and village greens.
Application 1083 - to de-register common land at Low Etherley:
- County Council agenda and minutes 16 May 2016: decision details on application to de register Common Land at Low Etherley
New town or village greens
Table of fees
|Provision under which the application is made||Purpose of application||Application Fee|
|Section 15A(1)||To deposit a Landowner Statement and Map||£235 for unconnected parcels of land less than 200 hectares and an additional £35 per hour for larger land holdings.|
Please contact us for the correct fee.
|Section 19(2)(a)||To correct a mistake made by the Authority||No fee|
|Schedule 2 paragraphs 6 to 9||The removal of buildings/land wrongly registered as common land or town or village green|
Note: Additional fees will be payable by the applicant if it is clear that an application is not straightforward and requires external legal advice, an informal hearing or Public Inquiry. These fees will be calculated on a cost recovery basis. Similarly, if the application is referred to the Planning Inspectorate for determination a fee will be payable by the applicant to the Planning Inspectorate
- Common land and village greens
- 03000 269 703
Our address is:
- Democratic Services
- County Hall
- County Durham
- United Kingdom
- DH1 5UL
- 0191 383 4206