Course to deal with common land issues

They are areas of great enjoyment and practical use but can also be the source of serious heartache and the cause of court cases, heated rows and scratching of heads even among legal experts.

They are areas of great enjoyment and practical use but can also be the source of serious heartache and the cause of court cases, heated rows and scratching of heads even among legal experts.

While the majority of common land is used quietly and sensibly for its intended purpose for decades on end, there is plenty of precedent to prove the complexity of the laws governing its use.

Ask anyone who has lived for more than a few years at Brisley Green, Hanworth Common, near Aylsham or Thwaite Common near Cromer and they will tell you of the problems which can intermittently raise their heads.

Rows over ownership, access, grazing rights, fencing and who has the right to do what, where and when have all caused sometimes lasting rifts in communities.


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But now help appears to be at hand, at least for clerks and chairmen who run rural parish and town councils.

A new training course designed to teach people how to nip problems in the bud before they develop fully has been organised by a range of people with an interest in the topic.

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One of these is Di Dann, the continuous professional development manager for the Institute of Local Council Management and clerk to Holt Town Council.

'The legislation governing common land is very deep and very wide,' said Mrs Dann. 'The course is designed to show what we can and cannot do when it comes to common land.

'It is a case of managing situations and being prepared for those situations.'

Mrs Dann said the course, delivered by Hedleys Solicitors, would initially be run in three areas of the country where there is a lot of common land, Norfolk, Surrey and Oxfordshire, but might expand if popular.

The courses will also cover rights of way, village greens and open spaces.

The Norfolk event will be at Dunston Hall on April 27.

For more information contact Mrs Dann on 01328 878196 or the Society of Local Council Clerks on 01823 253646.

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