We are a registration authority under the Commons Registration Act, 1965 and hold registers for both common land and town or village greens, which can be inspected free of charge.
What information is in the registers?
Each area of common land or town or village green listed in the registers has a unique 'unit number'. For example, Port Meadow is register unit No. CL1 (the CL prefix defining the land as common). Wood Green, Witney is register unit No. VG90 (the VG prefix defining the land as town or village green).
Each registration is divided into three sections showing details of:
- land - this includes a description of the land, who registered it and when the registration took place. There are also related plans which show the boundaries of the land
- rights - this includes a description of the rights of common (such as the right to graze 100 sheep), over which area of the common the rights are exercisable, and the name of the person (the 'commoner') who holds those rights
- ownership - this includes details of owners of the land. However, entries in this section of the registers are not held to be conclusive.
What do we do?
As a Commons Registration Authority we are responsible for maintaining the registers of common land and town or village greens in Oxfordshire.
This includes updating the registers when ownership or common rights change, or where rights are apportioned.
We amend the registers when we are notified by the Land Registry of changes in ownership of land and we can amend the registers in some instances to show changes in address. We are also responsible for registering 'new' village greens.
The registers are available for public inspection on Mondays to Fridays (except public holidays) between the hours of 9.30am and 4pm. You can make an appointment contacting the Definitive Map and Commons team. Copies of the registers and plans can be obtained on payment of a fee.
Commons Act 2006: Section 15
In due course the Commons Act 2006 will replace the Commons Registration Act 1965. The Commons Act 2006 received the Royal Assent on 19 July 2006 and tends to be a comprehensive authority's in law relating to common land and village greens. However, please note that the Act is not yet fully in force.
Recent guidance from DEFRA states that the Form CR21 traditionally sent to local registration authorities (usually county councils) for common land enquiries has been revoked for England and Wales as from 1 October 2007 and from that date all enquiries for common land / village green searches must be made through the relevant district council.
The web links for each district council are:
- Cherwell District Council
- West Oxfordshire District Council
- Oxford City Council
- South Oxfordshire District Council
- Vale of White Horse District Council
The system requires the district council to forward the enquiry on to the Registration Authority either as part of the larger local authority search or for the time being even where a common land / village green enquiry is made on its own. For that purpose a new CON29O form (Enquiries of local authority 2007 edition) now includes a section for common land and town and village greens (Q22) and this replaces the CR21.
National Land Information Service
NLIS is a modernising government initiative providing online searches.
NLIS provides a one-stop-shop via the internet for local land and property services in England and Wales. It is the e-commerce portal for professional conveyancing and allows local authority search requests (i.e. common land and village green searches) to be submitted and responded to online.
We signed up to level 2 of the NLIS service in May 2005, which means you can now submit your search enquiry online through a licensed commercial channel provider. This will be transferred electronically to us saving postal delivery time.