Town and village greens

There are three ways to search the 'Register of Common Land and Village Greens' for East Sussex.

  • In person – the register can be searched in person for free by appointment. To make an appointment contact the Definitive Map Team.
  • Online – those who make regular searches may prefer to request details online from the National Land Information Service.
  • Ask us – for a small fee we can do the search for you. Applications must be made in writing. See property searches.

To search for common land or village greens in the  Brighton or Hove area, contact Brighton & Hove City Council.

Before buying a property it is wise to check whether it sits on, or near, a town or village green. This may be included in your survey, but you can also check the registers yourself.

Using the registers you can check whether:

  • the property is on land registered as common land or a village green
  • any ‘rights of common’ exist on that land

The written register will reveal the name of the owner of the town or village green and tell you about who has rights of common over the land.

Applications go through a three-stage process.

Stage 1

If you wish to register land as a village green, please first read Defra's guidance notes and download their application form on the GOV.UK website.

You also will need to supply the following documents:

  1. A map showing the boundaries of the proposed village green.
  2. A map outlining the area that local users of the land come from.
  3. A completed Statutory Declaration. This is included in the Defra form above, and must be witnessed by a solicitor or magistrate.
  4. Evidence forms or letters of support from residents. These describe when and how residents use this land – please download and print copies for each resident supporting the application. They should all be submitted together by the person organising the application:
    Download the evidence form [265.0 KB] [doc]

Return all completed documentation to:

Rights of Way Team
East Sussex County Council
County Hall
St Anne’s Crescent

If you have any queries regarding your application please email the Definitive Map Team or telephone 0345 6080 193.

Stage 2

Once we receive your application, it is publicised and a period for people to comment on the application is opened. It may be necessary to hold a hearing to determine your application. The person hearing the matter will then write a report and recommend whether or not the land should be registered as a village green.

Stage 3

A Panel of County Councillors with special responsibility for these applications – the Commons and Village Green Registration Panel – has the final say about whether or not village green status is granted. They consider the report then write to all parties concerned to confirm the final decision.

The Commons Act 2006 allows for applications to be made to register land as a new village green. You will need to show that the land in question has been used:

  • for a period of at least 20 years
  • for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes
  • ‘As of right’ (for example, without force, secrecy or permission)
  • by the inhabitants of a locality, or a neighbourhood within a locality

Alternatively, a landowner may voluntarily register land as a new village green, in which case, it is not necessary to demonstrate a set period of use.

If the land you wish to register as a village green is close to the county border or to Brighton & Hove, other local authorities may be responsible for dealing with your application. To check which local authority is responsible, please contact:

Town and Village Greens are usually local areas of land used for sports and pastimes.

Unlike common land, there is no general right of public access over village greens. Access is reserved for the inhabitants of the neighbourhood or locality.

A town or village green may be privately owned, although in practice many greens are owned by the local parish council. Some greens may also have rights of common over them.

The registers of common land and town and village greens in East Sussex are held at County Hall in Lewes. The registers are a written record that describes each piece of land and a set of maps. These can be viewed by contacting the Definitive Map team.

Charlwood Gardens – RWO/TVG/1363

Application made to register “The Green” and “The Woods” at Charlwood Gardens as a Town or Village Green.

This case will be presented to the Town and Village Green Panel on 15th May 2024. The report will be available here beforehand.

Please contact the Definitive Map Team if you would like more information. 

Help with documents

Please note: we know these files might not be suitable for users of assistive technology. 

If you use assistive technology such as a screen reader, please contact us, and we will do our best to help. We will contact you about the next step.

Telephone: 0345 6080 193
Email: Definitive Map team

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