Merton Green Action Group

 We are pleased to announce that our claim for the Open Spaces at Merton Green and AshTree Road has finally been submitted to Monmouthshire County Council.

We have released a statement to the press and interested parties.

"Merton Green Action Group are pleased to announce that their application for the registration of the  open spaces at Merton Green  and Ash Tree Road Caerwent to become a Village Green has been submitted to Monmouthshire County Council.The land has been used for many decades for recreation by local residents without force or permission therefore, we believe, as of right.The area is comprised of ten and a half acres of grassland and trees and originally belonged to the Ministry of Defence.The land has been sold to a developer by the council and planning permission for 145 new houses has been granted.The development will encroach on much of the land and this wonderful open space will be lost forever to the village if the building goes ahead.We would like to thank Mr Hugh Candler solicitor of Gabb and Co Abergavenny for his support and dedication to our cause.He and a law student from Cardiff University,Eve Thomas, have obtained very detailed statements from a number of residents which show extensive use of the land.We have also been fortunate to have received advice from a barrister who has looked carefully at our claim."

We now have to wait for the council and developer to respond to our claim.There is likely to be an objection or objections and we should expect them within the next six weeks to which we will respond.

 The Open Spaces Society have released this statement on our behalf..





The Open Spaces Society,(1) the national pressure-group for green spaces, has congratulated the Merton Green Action Group(2) in reaching a milestone in its campaign to register open space at Merton Green and Ash Tree Road in Caerwent as a village green.(3)

Last week the action group submitted its application to Monmouthshire County Council, the greens registration authority.

The land, which is on the north-west side of Caerwent, is open grassland much used and enjoyed by local people of all ages, for many activities—walking, kite flying, playing cricket and picking fruit. Children ride bikes in a wooded part knows as The Ditches.

The land belonged to the Ministry of Defence and was sold to Monmouthshire County Council and then to a developer, Barratt Homes, which has obtained planning permission for 145 houses there.

If the land is registered as a green, not only will the recreational rights of local people be confirmed in law, but also development of the land will be outlawed.

Says Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society which has been helping the Merton Green Action Group with its campaign: ‘We congratulate the group on putting together such an excellent application.

‘The group has gathered evidence from local people who have used the land for recreation for up to 50 years.

‘Now we need Monmouthshire County Council to move swiftly through the process of registering the land, so that it can be safeguarded and enjoyed for ever,’ Kate declares.

The county must check that the application is in order and then advertise it. If there are objections, it may hold a public inquiry before deciding whether the land should be registered as a green.


Notes for editors

1. The Open Spaces Society (formally the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society) was founded in 1865 and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and people’s right to enjoy them.

2. Merton Green Action Group has a website

3. Land can be registered as a town or village green if it has been used by local people for ‘lawful sports and pastimes’ (ie informal recreation) for 20 years, freely and openly. Anyone may apply for registration. The registration authority is the unitary council. If there are objections to the registration, the council may hold a public inquiry to determine the case.

Once registered, the land is protected from encroachment and development by section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857 and section 29 of the Commons Act 1876. Local people have a right to enjoy the land for recreation.