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

East Dean Greensward

1. Introduction

The East Dean greensward is the open area of trees and grassland encircled by Deneside in the part of the village that lies to the north of the Eastbourne Road, (A259). 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. It offers some 2.5 acres of open space in the middle of the village for the enjoyment and benefit of all.

2.  History

The greensward is owned on behalf of the village 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, the members of which 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.

A formal agreement exists between EDGL and the RA charging the RA with all maintenance, insurance and administrative responsibilities relating to the greensward. 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. 

3.  Usage

Residents are encouraged to use the greensward for activities such as playing, games and other recreational pastimes and for public gatherings such as fêtes, music festivals, children's activities and special celebrations. We do ask that such activities will not cause harm to the greensward, other people or property. Specifically prohibited are: cricket with hard balls; golf and the flying of model aircraft and drones. No fires or barbecues are to be lit. Dog walkers must clear up and take away any excrement or use the bin provided. All events are subject to specific permission by EDGL’s directors. Parking of vehicles, even temporarily, is not permitted by day or by night. Householders undertaking building works are financially responsible for restitution of the greensward caused by contractor vehicles.

4.  Events

All requests to use the greensward for any 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. Requests for dedicated benches or trees should also be addressed to the RA and will be considered by EDGL in accordance with the aim of balancing the interest of all residents and in line with the EDGL policy document that can be found on this link. Trees and Benches

5.  Legal protection of village greens 

Greens receive statutory protection under two statutes. 

Section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857 makes it a criminal offence: 

Wilfully to cause injury or damage to any fence on a green; wilfully to take any cattle or other animals onto a green without lawful authority; wilfully to lay manure, soil, ashes, rubbish or other material on a green.

To undertake any act which causes injury to the green (e.g. digging turf) or to undertake any act which interrupts the use or enjoyment of a green as a place of exercise and recreation (e.g. fencing a green so as to prevent access). 

Section 29 of the Commons Act 1876 makes it a public nuisance: 

To encroach on a green (e.g. extending the boundary of an abutting property so as to exclude people from that area); to enclose a green (i.e. by fencing it in, whether or not the effect is to exclude public access).

6.  Emplacement of dedicated benches and trees

EDGL follows a strict policy on this matter. See: EDGL policy on benches and trees.

7.  Conclusion 

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.

Village greens form an important part of our national heritage and EDGL aims to ensure that the East Dean greensward will be protected in perpetuity for the enjoyment of current and future residents of East Dean & Friston. 

8.  Contact

For all enquiries about the greensward please contact edfresidentsassociation@gmail.com

dl_east_dean_greensward.doc, February 19, 2022