After a public inquiry held in Oxford in 2002 the Inspector, Vivian Chapman QC, accepted the evidence of the Friends Of The Trap Grounds that the western half of the site (the scrub land) had been used by the local community for lawful pastimes as of right for at least 20 years, and that it should therefore be registered as a Town Green.
Oxford City Council, which owned the site and wanted to develop it, took the case to the High Court, where Mr Justice Lightman ruled in favour of the Friends. The City Council then appealed to the Court of Appeal, which found against the Friends on a technicality which would have made it virtually impossible for any piece of land to be registered as a town or village green in future. So we appealed to the House of Lords in 2006 – and won. The Trap Grounds is now safe from development – and the law relating to town and village greens has been clarified and strengthened.
Click on the links below to read the verdicts. But beware: if you are thinking of claiming a piece of land as a town or village green, you need expert advice. The Open Spaces Society (www.oss.org.uk) can give you details of solicitors who specialise in this complex area of the law.