Spring time cherry blossom on the greensward photographed in infrared (c) David Lal



1. Introduction

2. Legal Definitions

3. Registration And Legislation

4. Responsibilities

5. Lawful Uses Of The Greensward

6. Prohibited Uses Of The Greensward

7.  Enforcement

8.  Maintenance

9.  Requests To Use The Greensward

10. Future Development

11. Summary


1. Introduction

a. The greensward is an integral and very important part of our village, providing residents with a beautiful focal point. It is a registered village green, which is the essence of rural England, and offers some 2.5 acres of open space in the middle of the village for the enjoyment and benefit of all.

b. The following policy and procedures details the rules and practices that need to be followed and makes reference to the underlying legislation that covers village greens.

2. Legal Definitions

a. A village green is defined in the Commons Registration Act 1965, as amended by The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, as land which has been allotted by or under any Act for the exercise or recreation of the inhabitants of any locality or on which the inhabitants of any locality have a customary right to indulge in lawful sport and pastimes.

b. Land falls within this category if it is land on which for not less than twenty years a significant number of inhabitants of any locality or of any neighbourhood within a locality have indulged in lawful sports and pastimes as of right and either i) continue to do so, or

ii) have ceased to do so for not more than such a period as may be prescribed or determined in accordance with prescribed provisions.

3. Registration And Legislation

a. The greensward was registered in 1984 as a village green with the Commons Registration Authority held by East Sussex County Council. This provides protection as afforded by various acts of legislation that cover all aspects of its use and management. The most common legislation that exists for the protection and rights that cover village greens is

i. The Enclosure Act 1845/57

ii. The Commons Act 1876/99

iii. The Open Spaces Act 1906

iv. The Acquisition of Land Act 1981

v. The Law of Property Act 1925

vi. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000


4. Responsibilities

a. The greensward is owned by East Dean Greensward Ltd. (EDGL)*, having been purchased in 2012 from the Leighton Brothers, the original estate developers. The purchase was negotiated and arranged by The Residents’ Association (RA) and the funds were donated by local residents. EDGL is a company limited by guarantee whose members are all freeholders living in the village of East Dean & Friston. All freeholder residents in the village are eligible to become members of EDGL at no cost.

b. An Agency Agreement exists between EDGL and the RA charging the RA with all maintenance, insurance and administrative responsibilities relating to the greensward and the RA is also required to implement the rules and policies contained in this document. As custodians EDGL must ensure that the greensward is protected against encroachment, damage and uses other than those consistent with the normal enjoyment of the greensward. Protection of the grassed area may involve the placing of stones, erection of posts or bollards or the creation of ditches if that should become necessary in order to prevent unauthorised vehicular access.


5. Lawful Uses Of The Greensward


Lawful uses of the greensward include but are not necessarily limited to:


a. Playing sport, games and other recreational pastimes and activities providing the performance of such activities are unlikely to cause harm to persons or property

b. Public gatherings such as fêtes, music festivals, children's activities, special celebrations, etc. subject to specific permission by the RA

c. Walking on it with or without a dog or dogs


6. Prohibited Uses Of The Greensward

Prohibited uses include but are not necessarily limited to:

a. Any activity that could damage property or cause physical injury to people

b. Building of any structure or the creation of any permanent hard standing

c. Camping

d. Cricket with hard cricket balls

e. Driving across the Greensward of any motor vehicle or motor cycle

f. Erection of any fencing to make areas inaccessible to the public

g. Flying of model aircraft or 'drones'

h. Golf practice

i. Leaving of any litter or fouling by domestic dogs.

j. Lighting of any bonfires or the use of barbeques of any description without the specific authority of the RA

k. Parking of any vehicles, caravans or mobile homes of any sort by day or by night

l. Pruning or cutting down of any trees, shrubs or bushes unless specifically authorised by the RA

m. Grazing livestock of any kind

n. Wilful damage to the grass, trees, benches or sign


7. Enforcement

Where a party or parties are proved to have misused the greensward creating damage or alteration to its original fabric:

a. The RA will deem those persons responsible for unlawful damage and take action for the repair and reinstatement. Those responsible will be required to pay all subsequent costs in relation to the repair and reinstatement with any such works completed to a standard and timetable agreed with the RA.

b. Should the RA have to carry out its own works in relation to repairs or reinstatement or employ an external contractor to do so all costs incurred will be charged to the individual or individuals responsible for such damage or alteration.

c. In some circumstances damage or encroachment may result in criminal proceedings being taken by the RA. 


8. Maintenance

a. The RA is legally responsible for the insurance and maintenance of all parts of the greensward. An approved contractor or contractors will be appointed to undertake specific works such as tree pruning or replacement and grass cutting from time to time. Whilst grass cutting and pruning will be undertaken from time to time under an annual contract other areas may require attention or replacement. All decisions relating to the maintenance and repair of the greensward will be taken by the RA in the first instance before any works are carried out.

b. The RA will regularly inspect the greensward to determine its condition and to assess any works that may be required. From time to time the RA will arrange working parties to carry out minor works in relation to the greensward maintenance and upkeep.


9. Requests To Use The Greensward

All requests to use the greensward for any officially organised event or function must be made by email to the RA at edfresidentsassociation@gmail.com. Any such request will be considered fully taking into account all current legislation and any disruption that may be caused to close neighbours, particularly those living on Deneside. 


10. Future Development

Given that the greensward has been formally registered as a village green and lies within the South Downs National Park it is protected by legislation to avoid development in the future. As an additional protection, a no development clause was put in place at the time of the purchase by EDGL with the specific intention of preventing any change of the use of the greensward.


11. Summary

a. Village greens are an important part of our national heritage and the members of EDGL require that the East Dean Greensward be protected in perpetuity for the enjoyment of current and future residents of East Dean & Friston. EDGL looks to all residents, (members and non-members) to assist in ensuring that this facility is properly maintained and supervised.

b. We should be proud of the greensward and consider ourselves fortunate to live in a village that has such a lovely facility. It is incumbent upon all residents to ensure that this unique facility is well maintained and not damaged in any way so that future generations can also enjoy this special village green.

c. Agreed by the members at a General Meeting of East Dean Greensward Ltd held on 25th July 2013 and signed by the directors on their behalf. Document revised and signed by the directors of EDGL at a meeting on 2nd February 2018.

* East Dean Greensward Ltd - A company limited by guarantee - Registration Number 8157591