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Commons and greens registers

The registers were compiled under the 1965 Act and contain information about the extent and location of all registered common land and town and village green in South Gloucestershire.

The registers record each area of land as a unit, each of which has a unique reference number allocated to it, i.e. CL for common land and VG for village greens. The register also shows if there are any rights of common over the land and records details of claims of ownership. Each register is divided into three sections which are made up as follows:

Land

A description of the land, who registered it and when the registration became finally registered. There is also a register plan which will show the boundaries of the land and in some cases supplemental plans referred to in the description.

Rights

The rights section sets out details of the person who applied for registration of the rights, particulars of the right of common and of the land over which it is exercised, and the particulars of the land (if any) to which the right is attached.

A right of common is a right, usually shared with an owner of land to take certain produce off the land. There are many such rights of which pasturage (the right to put animals onto the land to graze) is considered one of the most important. Other rights include, pannage (the right to put pigs onto the land to eat acorns etc.); turbary (the right to cut peat or turf for fuel); estovers (the right to take wood or bracken for fuel) and piscary (the right to fish).

Ownership

This includes details of owners of common land at the time of registration. Whilst the Council as commons registration authority continues to be responsible for the Rights Section of the register, ownership registration has become the responsibility of the Land Registry.

Amendments to the registers

The 1965 Act gives a CRA a limited power to amend the information held in the relevant sections of the register as follows:

  • Land: when land ceases to be common land or village green and where land becomes village green or common land.
  • Ownership: when title is registered at HM Land Registry.
  • Rights: when grazing rights are apportioned, extinguished or released, varied or transferred.

Whenever land, with attached rights, is sold in lots, the right of common is usually apportioned on a pro-rata basis according to the acreage of each owner, unless the rights are specifically ‘apportioned’ by means of the deed or document transferring ownership of the land (i.e. the conveyance or transfer).  ​

Applications or general queries regarding apportionment of rights should be sent to locallandcharges@southglos.gov.uk or:

South Gloucestershire Council
Chief Executive & Corporate Resources Department
Senior Legal Officer, Legal and Democratic Services
PO Box 1953
Bristol
BS37 0DB

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