February 12th, 2021 by James Goudie KC

TW Logistics Ltd v Essex County Council (2021) UKSC 4 raised important issues about the law relating to Town and Village Greens under the Commons Act 2006, a much wider concept (para1) than the traditional village green, with registration having (para 2) important legal consequences. The central question on the unsuccessful appeal was whether registration in this case, under Section 15 of the Act, would have the consequence that the continuation of the landowner’s pre-existing commercial activities would be criminalised.

The Supreme Court said, at paras 65/66, that the registration of the land as a TVG has the effect that the public acquires the general right to use it as such for any lawful sport or pastime. However, the exercise of that right is subject to “ give and take”. The rights must be used in a reasonable manner, having regard to the interests of the landowner. After registration, the landowner has all the rights that derive from its legal title, as limited by the statutory rights of the public. In this case, TWL was not ( paras 81 and 91) committing an offence in continuing its pre-existing commercial activities.

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