CAMPAIGNERS hope to finally stop any future plans for a seawall at Shoebury Common by trying to register the land as a village green.
The Friends of Shoebury Common, which fought plans to build a 7ft seawall to protect homes from flooding, has applied for the status to stop the seawall plan for good and to prevent the north side of the common being sold for development.
The application is being considered by Southend Council, which was behind the seawall plan.
That has been put on hold by the new administration.
Peter Grubb, owner of Uncle Tom’s Cabin on the common, said the group had applied for the status months ago.
He said: “It is wonderful news but why has Southend Council sat on the application for 11 months?
“Had this been considered at the time the seawall was given planning permission, it would have stopped it in its tracks.
“The reasonwe applied for village green status is because the council failed to register it as a common years ago.
“It is designated as public open space and could be built on if the local authority grants permission.
“You can get village green status if you can prove the land has been used by people for pleasure and gatherings for 20 years and we can certainly do that.”
The council’s new administration is looking at alternatives to the controversial plans for a £5.18million Shoebury Common Beach seawall, which would have been built using 44,000 tonnes of soil displaced by earthslips on Southend cliffs.
Martin Terry, councillor responsible for public protection, said: “Southend Council has received an application from the Friends of Shoebury Common for the common, which is owned by the council, to be designated as a village green.
“The council needs to advertise the application and anyone who wishes to object has until Tuesday, October 14, 2014.
“The council will then decide whether the land should be registered in accordance with the Commons Act 2006 and a public inquiry may be held to assist with this determination.
“In determining the application the council will be acting as the registration authority and not as the landowner.”
Objections should be sent in writing to the council’s committee section by email at committee email@example.com or by sending any objection to the civic centre.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS...
THE Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 made a number of significant changes to the law on registering new town and village greens under the Commons Act 2006.
Town and village greens developed under customary law as areas of land where local people indulged in lawful sports and pastimes.
These might include organised or ad-hoc games, picnics, fetes and similar activities.
Most greens were registered in the late Sixties under the Commons Registration Act 1965.
Anyone can apply to register land as a green if it has been used by local people for lawful sports and pastimes for at least 20 years.
Land which is registered as a village green must be kept open and available for recreational use by the public.
Minor works of construction are allowed on the land, such as the building of public toilets, however these will usually require consent from the secretary of state.
A village green cannot be developed on or redeveloped unless alternative land is offered up in exchange.