Commons Update – New Forest/Case Study
Many commons claimants are still awaiting the allocation of their missing entitlements from 2015-2017 and the subsequent missing payments, although most applicants have now received a payment for the monies from 2009-2014. The RPA have also now agreed to pay interest on the late SPS related payments. The RPA have completed re-mapping/commons eligibility checks on a number of commons, click here for more information.
The New Forest is not included in the definition of common land for which a “Minchinhampton claim” can be submitted. This is due to grazing and agricultural activity being regulated on a separate basis from other commons in England. Commons rights on the New Forest are not registered under the Commons Registration Act 1965 and there is no definitive register of the rights held. However the RPA are suggesting that famers who believe they might have a valid “Minchinhampton claim” for the New Forest should submit it now. These will be held with the RPA until a decision is made as to whether claims are to be accepted on the New Forest. It is unclear as to how the 6-year limitation will be applied to the New Forest claims if they are accepted. If you need advice about a particular situation or how to make a claim please contact Mark Burton (01392 823935).
We are currently working on a case where a claimant submitted a claim for a parcel of land they had acquired under a Farm Business Tenancy for a 5 year term. They contacted us to purchase entitlements having made their own BPS application. They added the parcel to their 2018 application using an RLE1 form, sketch plan and Continuation Booklet and submitted the claim on time. The claimant was then contacted by the RPA informing them that the parcel they had claimed upon was a common and that they could not claim on the parcel unless they held common rights and that the land could not be added to their holding. The claimant contacted us to try and understand the situation, as when they had rented the land they had not been informed that it was common and had in fact been grazing/mowing the land under a grazing licence for a number of years. Upon contacting the RPA Commons department it was confirmed that the land was indeed a common parcel, however there were no registered grazing rights for the parcel. The RPA then agreed to register the parcel as a “normal field parcel” and allow our client to claim upon it.
This highlights that claimants should consider querying the RPA if they are stating that their land is not eligible or they are informed of an error and they believe the RPA are mis-informed.
As ever, it is expected that common land claimants will need to be prepared to wait to receive their BPS payment as the RPA try to get as many of the ‘easier’ applications processed first.
For more information on commons see here.