Guidance

Commons registers: apply to rectify them

Apply to correct mistakes in the registers of common land or of town or village greens

You can apply in certain circumstances to correct the registers by making a rectification application.

You must apply by 31 December 2020 if you live in the area of any of the following authorities:

You must apply by 15 March 2027 if you live in any of the following areas:

Cumbria County Council
North Yorkshire County Council

You can also apply to correct existing information in the registers. There is no deadline for making these applications. You can apply to:

  • correct mistakes made by the registration authority
  • correct ‘other mistakes’
  • remove duplicate entries
  • update names and addresses
  • update the area of a common if it has been changed in relation to water (for example, where a river has changed course)

You can’t apply if the land or right of common isn’t in any of these areas, except to correct a mistake made by the registration authority.

Find more information about applying to change the commons registers to help you with your application.

Apply to add common land or greens to the registers

You can apply to register land that is legally recognised as being common land or a town or village green, but has not been registered.

To register land as common land, the land must be recognised by one of the following:

  • the land is regulated by an order of regulation made under the Commons Act 1876 and confirmed by a provisional order confirmation Act; find a list of these commons and greens
  • the land is subject to a scheme made under the Metropolitan Commons Acts 1866–1898 or Part I of the Commons Act 1899; a list of commons and greens subject to schemes made before 1980 is available from the Defra casework database for information about schemes made since 1981, contact the relevant district council or National Park authority
  • the land is regulated as common land under a local or personal Act
  • the land is otherwise recognised or designated as common land under any other enactment

To register land as a green, the land must have been alloted under an Act for recreation on 31 July 1970, and still is on the date of your application.

You may be able to register the following common land and greens which were exempted from registration under the Commons Registration Act 1965:

  • Amersham: Austenwood Common, Coleshill Common, Gold Hill Common, Hyde Heath, Ley Hill Common
  • Brentwood: Shenfield Common
  • Bromley: West Wickham Common, Spring Park
  • Coventry: Greyfriars Green, Hearsall Common, Keresley Common, Stoke Commons, Top Green, Whitley Common
  • Croydon: Coulsdon Common, Farthingdown Common, Kenley Common, Riddlesdown Common
  • Egham: Thorpe Green
  • Esher: Brook Hill Common, Downside Common,Leigh Hill Common, Little Heath Common, Old Common, Oxshott Heath, Upper and Lower Tilt Commons
  • Hampshire: Otterbourne Hill Common
  • Harrogate: The Stray
  • Merton: Mitcham Common
  • Portland: Victoria Gardens
  • Slough: Cippenham Village Green Common
  • Southampton: West End Road Recreation Ground
  • Watford: Cassiobridge Common
  • Whitley Bay: The Links Common
  • York: Micklegate Stray

Who can apply

Anyone can apply using form CA13. You don’t need to be the owner of the land. You’ll be applying under under Schedule 2 paragraphs 2 or 3.

But if your application relates to land (or any part of it) that is covered by a building or is within the curtilage of a building (the land that ‘belongs’ to a building), then you must provide the landowner’s consent with your application. In order to establish ownership of the land, you may need to check the Land Registry.

Apply to register waste land of the manor as common land

Waste land of the manor is land that is open, uncultivated and unoccupied and either belongs to, or used to belong to, a manor. You can apply to have it registered as common land if someone applied for provisional registration of that land under the 1965 Act, someone objected and then:

  • the Commons Commissioner cancelled the registration only because the land was no longer connected with the manor or
  • the Commons Commissioner cancelled the registration because there were no rights of common on the land, but did not then consider whether the land could be registered as waste land of the manor instead or
  • the applicant for registration asked for the registration to be cancelled or agreed to it

Most land in England is land that formerly belonged to a manor. It is seldom possible to prove beyond doubt that a particular parcel of land was part of a manor. But it should be enough to show that on balance, there’s no convincing evidence to disprove it. There are several sources of information about manors:

You will probably find it helpful to refer to copies of the Commissioner’s decision letters which are held by Defra in both bound and electronic form. Contact the Commons and Access Implementation Team about the bound volumes.

Who can apply

Anyone can apply using form CA13. You don’t need to be the owner of the land. You’ll be applying under under Schedule 2 paragraph 4.

What you can’t apply for

You can’t claim or register any of the former rights of common over the land because those rights were extinguished.

Apply to have common land instead registered as a town or village green

You can apply to have a town or village green that was mistakenly registered as common land swapped back to the register of town or village greens. Greens get greater protection from the law and local people will gain the right to use the green for sports and pastimes. Any rights of common over the land will remain even if it is recorded in the register of town or village greens.

You will need to show that when the land was provisionally registered it was in fact a town or village green as:

  • it was land that had been legally set aside for exercise or recreation, for example under an inclosure award
  • it was land that people had a customary right to use for lawful sports and pastimes , meaning before living memory
  • it was land that people had used for lawful sports and pastimes as of right for 20 years or more

Who can apply

Anyone can apply using form CA13. You don’t need to be the owner of the land. You’ll be applying under under Schedule 2 paragraph 5.

Apply to deregister buildings wrongly registered as common land or as a town or village green

You can apply to deregister common land or a town or village green that was covered by a building, or the curtilage of a building (meaning it ‘belongs’ to a building), when it was registered.

Your application will need to show all of the following:

  • the land was provisionally registered between 2 January 1967 and 31 July 1970; you can check this in the commons registers
  • the land was covered by a building, or within the curtilage of building, when it was provisionally registered
  • the land is still covered by a building or within the curtilage of a building when you apply

Who can apply

Anyone can apply using form CA13. You don’t need to be the owner of the land. You’ll be applying under under Schedule 2 paragraph 6 for common land, and Schedule 2 paragraph 8 for town and village greens.

Apply to deregister “other land” wrongly registered as common land or as a town or village green

You can apply for the deregistration of other land that was wrongly registered as common land or as a town or village green. But only if the following circumstances apply:

  • the land was provisionally registered as common land between 2 January 1967 and 31 July 1970; check this in the commons registers
  • the provisional registration of the land was not referred to a Commons Commissioner (the entry in the commons registers will normally say ‘undisputed’);
  • when the land was provisionally registered it wasn’t:
    • land subject to rights of common
    • waste land of a manor
    • a town or village green because it was physically unusable for recreation during the 20 previous years and the land was not, and is still not, alloted by an Act for recreation
    • land of a description specified in section 11 of the Inclosure Act 1845, which includes gated and stinted pastures, land held in severalty by joint tenants and equivalent lands (but check section 11)

Who can apply

Anyone can apply using form form CA13. You don’t need to be the owner of the land. You’ll be applying under under Schedule 2 paragraph 7 if you want to deregister common land, and under Schedule 2 paragraph 9 if you want to deregister a town or village green.

Apply to correct the registers

You can apply under Section 19 to correct certain types of mistake in the registers. This includes omissions and unclear or ambiguous descriptions. But mistakes cannot be corrected when other people have reasonably relied on the current version of the register and the registration authority thinks it would now be unfair to change it.

Apply to correct mistakes made by the registration authority

You can apply to correct any mistake that was made by the registration authority when it made or amended an entry in the register.

Your application will need to show that the registration authority is responsible for the mistake. So, for example, if an applicant attached a map with a mistake in it to their registration, the mistake was the applicant’s and not the registration authority’s.

Apply for the correction of other mistakes that don’t affect land or the quantification of rights

You can apply to have any other mistake corrected, whoever made the mistake. If the mistake was made because of a flaw in the information provided (or omitted) at the relevant time, or because the proper procedures were not followed at that time. You could ask for the following to be corrected, for example:

  • the description or the map of a dominant tenement
  • the attachment of a right of common to a farmhouse, to show that it should instead have been recorded as a right in gross (granted to a person, under a deed)
  • to define an internal grazing boundary so that a right of common applies over part, but not all, of a common or a green
  • a private right noted in the register
  • the name of a register unit

The corrections you’re asking for mustn’t affect the area of the registered land, nor what can be done under the right of common.

Apply to have a duplicate entry removed

You can apply to have a duplicate entry in the register removed, whether the registration authority or another person caused the mistake.

Apply to have names and addresses updated

You can apply to update someone’s name or address. This is most common for the registered owner of a right held in gross, when the owner of the right moves or changes his or her name (for example, when they get married).

Apply to change the area of common land or a town or village green if a water body changes it

If the boundary of common land or a green follows a body of water (such as a river, a lake or the sea), the line of that water body may change over time. This could increase or decrease the area of land in the common or green. You can apply to correct the register with these changes. If the land is subject to rights of common, these rights will also be adjusted.

Who can apply

Anyone can apply under Section 19; use form CA10.

Contact

For enquiries and comments relating to this guidance:

Commons, Access and Inland WaterwaysTeam
Defra
1D Nobel House
17 Smith Square
LONDON
SW1P 3JR

Email: commons.villagegreens@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Published 12 December 2014