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Village Green: the final furlong

Two years ago, I applied to register the Downs as a Village Green. In November this year, Kent County Council will be holding a public inquiry to decide whether to register the Downs as a Village Green.

If we’re successful, Canterbury City Council will have to continue maintain the Downs, but they won’t be able to sell the land, build on it, or use some of it for car parking as was suggested for the King’s Hall end. Village Green status will protect the Downs as an open space for Herne Bay people to use for freely and free of charge forever… just as we use it today.

To succeed in persuading Kent Council to register the Downs as a Village Green, we need people like you to come along to the public inquiry to tell the independent inspector about the use you make of the Downs.

Can you help us?

The Public Inquiry will run from Monday 28th November until Friday 2nd  December, and will start with hearing evidence from people who have used the Downs. The 28th, the 29th or 30th of November have been set aside for hearing evidence, although we may need longer if lots of people want to have their say. We would like to hear about:

  • how long you have been using the Downs;
  • what you use it for now (walking; walking the dog; playing with children; cycling; running; painting; watching nature; etc.);
  • what use you may have made of it in the past, particularly if your use of the Downs has changed over the years;
  • how frequently you use, or have used, the Downs
  • which parts of the Downs you use.

The idea is that the inquiry will be pretty informal. You can bring along with you anyone you like. Indeed, if you know anyone else who would like to talk at the inquiry about how they use the Downs, do let us know! Your “slot” should last a maximum of 30 minutes. We would need you to be there a bit before you’re due to speak, simply because some people may take less time to have their say than we had imagined and so we might need you to do your bit before the time we originally had booked you for.

We particularly need to hear from people who use the eastern half (i.e. the half nearest Reculver) as Canterbury Council is claiming that people don’t use this end of the Downs.

Please help us if you possibly can. Despite the fact that we produced 1,181 questionnaires proving that local people have used the Downs for over twenty years, Canterbury is challenging this and is insisting that we produce people at the inquiry to testify that they actually use the Downs. Without a convincing number of local people willing to come along and do that, we won’t be able to register the Downs as a Village Green, and Canterbury will be free to do whatever it likes with our land. We need to get the statements completed by late October.

If you can help, do let me know by:

  • emailing me on
  • or phoning me on 07970 405678 or 01227 365942
  • or writing to me at 56 Beacon Hill, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 6JN.

Thank you in advance. We’re now in the home straight of a process that we started over two years ago. Please help us with this last bit if you can!

Phil Rose
Village Green Applicant

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Reader Comments (1)

I don't know how ccc get the idea that people dont use the eastern end of the Downs, in 2005 I asked the councilor to get them to concrete the path between the Miramar and the fire beacon as it was used by so many people it was a about 4 inch deep in mud in parts during the winter. Now if anything the usage has increased, dozens of people use it everyday, many more in fact than use the pavement alongside the road which runs parallel to it along that stretch.
Sun, September 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertw

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