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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/12/2004
Commons Regulation Scheme


2.1 Commons Regulation Scheme The Commons Act 1899 enabled district councils to make a Regulation Scheme which allows them (if they so wish) to incur expenditure in protecting, managing and improving commons, including making bylaws, power to make paths and roads or provide temporary car-parking (with Secretary of State approval) for the benefit of the public. The scheme gives the public the right of access for recreation and the Council is required to preserve the natural features and aspect of the common and prevent encroachments. However, it does not affect the rights of the landowner or commoners.

Hambledon Rural District Council made a Regulation Scheme (covering 287 hectares) under this act in 1951 and bylaws in 1953, presumably with the prime purpose of securing public access to commons. The scheme covered the majority, but not all of the common land within the District, and includes 16 sites which are not owned or leased by the Council, of which 43 hectares is in private ownership and 27 has no known owner (Section 9 land – see below).

The Regulation Scheme could be amended to exclude certain sites, but still retain byelaws that assist in resolving problems on sites owned or leased by the Council. The section 9 land within the scheme is predominantly roadside strips that have limited use for public recreation.

2.2 Section 9 Land The Commons Registration Act 1965, provided for the registration of ownership, common rights and town and village greens. Under Section 9 of the Act, where the ownership could not be confirmed, any council (county, district or parish) may take steps to prevent encroachment, but is not able to sue for damages and is not empowered to spend money on clearance or improvement of the common land.