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Statement of Policy
Priddy Parish Council continues to oppose the development of new dwellings around the village greens and their immediate environment. Currently there are few properties overlooking the lower green and minimal traffic movements across the green to those properties via recognised accesses.
Priddy Parish is the only parish to lie wholly within the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are 3.2 million visitors to the Mendip Hills AONB annually.
In a statement the Mendip Hills AONB Unit Planning Liaison Officer said:
'Priddy Village Green is a very important historic landscape feature within the Mendip Hills AONB. The AONB Unit is therefore concerned regarding the cumulative impact of proposed new development on the character of Priddy Green'
The lower green lies centrally in the village and is an open green space greatly valued by inhabitants and visitors. It is used for quiet enjoyment, recreation and pastimes and for the holding of events enjoyed by many people each year and which contribute important revenue to both the village and wider rural economy.
Priddy Parish Council considers that further new dwellings built adjacent to the green will seriously detract from such public enjoyment both by lessening the visual open character and through overlooking the green space and its users.
The lower and upper greens are owned by Priddy Parish Council. Both are registered under the Commons Act 1965 as well as with Land Registry and are also included as Open Areas of Local Significance in the newly adopted Mendip Local Plan.
The Priddy Parish Plan, written by the residents of Priddy with assistance from Mendip District Council, and to be used as supplementary planning guidance states on page 12:-
The overall impression of the village is one of openness with just a few groups of traditional grey stone houses, cottages and farmhouses widely spread around the spacious bottom green'.
On page 22, views of particular importance across the lower green have been identified. The text states 'new development which would adversely intrude on identified views should be avoided'.
The use of the greens is protected by law and use is governed by Priddy Parish Council Byelaws made under section 15 of the Open Spaces Act 1906 and confirmed by the Secretary of State 1st August 2000 and by the lnclosure Act 1857 and Commons Act 1876 amongst others.
Section 12 of the lnclosure Act 1857 and section 29 of the Commons Act 1876 are both concerned with injury to the village greens and, unlike the Acts which apply to common land, these provisions restrict the landowner in regularising any of these activities by granting consents.
In registering the village greens, the Parish Council acknowledged the existing accesses across the village greens and these are recorded in the registration documents. Current advice suggests that the Parish Council may consider the granting of an additional easement across an existing access so recorded if the granting of such an easement would not seriously increase the use of and damage to that existing access. The granting of such an easement would be governed, in part, by section 127 of the Local Government Act 1972.
Priddy Parish Council are only able to consider the granting of such easements across an existing access on a case by case basis and the granting of any such easement does not bind the Parish Council at any future time in this regard. The Parish Council cannot by law grant any new access across the village greens.
Agreed by the Parish Council on 6th January, 2016