community using unregistered land

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    community using unregistered land

    I would appreciate some opinions please! There is an area of unused land in our Parish which we would like to turn into a nature reserve / small BMX bike area with the help of the local young people who are a) bored and b) keen to get involved! We cannot find out who owns it. The 2 most likely owners say it is not theirs. Next stop = Land Registry. The question is, if the land is unregistered can we just begin to use it? Obviously we would hand it back if an owner appeared in the future. As I understand it Adverse Possession requires you to exclude all others - clearly as a community space we could not do this so we will not be able to claim AP after 10 years - am I correct? Finally I assume we will need planning permission? It is currently classed as Agricultural although it is not part of a field or any farming tenancy locally. Many thanks for all views!
    Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

    #2
    I would go straight to the London Wildlife Trust and get their advice and support. I think you need to own for 12 years to get onwnership... In my view you would need planning for use as a nature reserve... I would be willing to help out if this is the case...at a very reduced fee if its for the community!!

    Oh yes, and you dont need to own land to submit a planning application!!

    Regards,

    PETER

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      #3
      I think your biggest problem is going to be the BMX track / area. You'll need the Loacal Authority on side to take on the Public Liability side of things. This can be the incredibly hard to arrange although not impossible.

      There are plenty of public tracks like this - there's one in Dorking and the Skate Park in Brixton are good examples and it might be worth contacting the repective LAs to discuss how they maintain these facilities.
      There is always scope for misinterpretation.

      If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

      Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

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        #4
        Thank you both. Sadly (or fortunately depending on your viewpoint) we are in rural northern England. Your comments are however much appreciated and both posts are very helpful. I did think that insurance would be a stumbling block of course and pdk your offer of a reduced fee was very kind! Thanks again
        Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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          #5
          If your LA doesn't already have similar facilities then it is still worth contacting other Councils that do have those facilities.

          Public Liability is the biggest headache for BMX / Skate / Jump parks. There is a place called Esher Shore that had a load of timber riding structures - or 'North Shore' to use the correct term - for mtb's. The way the structures were classified in terms of difficulty was based upon how high they were off the ground (due to the Insurance Risk Assessments). The hardest pieces to ride were actually graded the easiest - because they were just off the floor.

          Really was an ache in the privates and the place has since closed.
          There is always scope for misinterpretation.

          If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

          Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

          Comment


            #6
            To verify whether the land is unregistered, the Land Registry will do a search of the Index Map at a cost of £5, if you download a SIM form from their web-site and send the form with a cheque to the Land Registry office that deals with your area.

            When anyone makes a planning application for land that they do not know who the owner is, there needs to be a public notice placed in a local newspaper advertising the application and asking any owner to comment to the Local Planning Authority.

            That does require a cost for the planning application, as well as the cost of the public notice, but may result in the legal owner coming forward to contact the applicant or to object to the council about the fact their land is being proposed for development.

            If no one comes forward within the time limit specified in the public notice then the matter is decided on its planning merits.

            If it were to be granted, the next stage will require a decision to be made as to whether spending more money on the development with no known owner is sensible, as if the owner does eventually come forward, there is risk involved that the owner will stop any use of their land by seeking a repossession order in court.

            That fact needs to be considered against the value of the land and the fact it seems to be unused at present. Would it be likely that it was worth seeking a repossession order for worthless land with the costs that will entail, or would the planning permission have added value to the land to make such a court action worth considering.

            You need to understand there is no such thing as theft of land, it is merely possession that is adverse to the true owner.
            If the developer is a limited company, registered as a charity, with no assets once the development has been completed, there is no chance that if costs were awarded to the owner after making a repossession claim, they would be paid.
            That would be a matter to be taken into consideration by the true owner if he finally came forward after the development had been completed. He needs to ask himself "Is it worth bothering?"

            What you do not clarify is how large an area of land is involved, so its value is not known.
            That could be an important consideration if money needs to be expended in order to see what may be possible.

            I have to say that a nature reserve is quite a different thing to a BMX track. One could quite easily receive a granted planning permission whilst the other could certainly be more contentious.

            There is also a method whereby adverse possession can be claimed after 12 years if matters were to be taken forward, but that is another matter entirely.

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              #7
              Thank you very much indeed Pilman - you are always a font of knowledge! I will post more info re size of area when I have it in detail - it is not that big to be honest! MK - your info re the bmx track was very helpful - we may end up doing something less dangerous such as a trim trail? Anyway thank you to everyone who has posted - you have all helped so much
              Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

              Comment


                #8
                The extent of use involved with a nature reserve or a trim trail could well not be anything like sufficient to found an eventual claim for a possessory title by adverse possession.
                RICHARD WEBSTER

                As a conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful (provided it relates to property in England & Wales) but I accept no liability except to fee-paying clients.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I thought it may not as it will remain a public space and not be locked etc. Our aim however is not to acquire the land but to use it for everyone's benefit.
                  Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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