Leeds village green court ruling

A patch of land on the outskirts of Leeds will stay safe from developers after a bid to have it declassified as a village green failed.

Landowner Leeds Group plc, which owns five and a half acres of the site known as Yeadon Banks, in Yeadon, this week tried to persuade top judges at London's Court of Appeal to overturn Leeds City Council's decision to designate it as a green and protect it from development.

The landowners claimed that the council, which owns the rest, was wrong to designate it as a green, insisting the strict legal test had not been met because the people using the land came from two distinct neighbourhoods, rather than a single one.

But Lord Justice Sullivan, Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Tomlinson ruled that the council's decision should stand.

The appeal was sparked by the successful application from Douglas Jones, of Haw Lane, Yeadon, who is the chairman of Keep Yeadon Banks Green and acted on behalf of the residents of areas known locally as The Haws and Banksfield.

He had already satisfied a planning inspector, the council and, eventually, a High Court judge that the local public had enjoyed use of the land as of right for a continuous period of 20 years, and so the site should be registered as a town green.

And yesterday Lord Justice Sullivan, rejecting the appeal, said: "Like

the judge, I can see no logical reason why 'any neighbourhood' should not include two or more neighbourhoods. There is nothing in the language of the subsection to suggest that 'any neighbourhood' must mean only one neighbourhood."

He also rejected Leeds Group's claim that the required continuous 20 year period of use as of right by the local public had not been demonstrated.

The judge said that "ample and open recreational use" was being made of the land and the evidence abundantly supported the conclusion that a significant number of locals were using the land for lawful sports and

pastimes.

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