Fields in Trust champions and supports our parks and green spaces by protecting them for people to enjoy in perpetuity.
Fields in Trust works in partnership with landowners including local authorities, voluntary organisations and private landowners to protect land through a Deed of Dedication in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and a Minute of Agreement in Scotland - a binding legal commitment from the landowner - which allows green spaces to be protected in perpetuity for current and future generations to enjoy. Both the Deed and the Minute will be referred to as 'Deed of Dedication' in this guidance unless the concept otherwise requires.
Generally, any green space used for formal sport, or informal physical activity and recreation can be dedicated and protected by a Deed of Dedication. This could be a space used by the general public or a sports club that has open membership. Our definition of recreation also now encompasses natural and semi-natural nature spaces, such as woodland, local nature reserves and country parks. It is essential that the green space have some form of permanent public access and be at least 0.2ha in size.
Buildings, structures and facilities directly associated with and supporting the recreational use of a green space, for example sports pavilions, changing rooms, toilets, storage facilities, car parks for the green space users and associated cafés, can be included in a Deed of Dedication as part of the green space.
Buildings that must be excluded are electricity substations, leisure centres, indoor sport facilities, community centres, village halls, schools, residential buildings, council offices, town car parks and any other commercial buildings.
Facilities owned by or leased to private clubs are also incompatible with the protection.
You must own the property by having a freehold interest or a leasehold interest of at least 99 years. Tenants will need to have the support of their landlord by giving them a consent for the dedication of the premises for the duration of the lease or by the landlord becoming a party to the Deed of Dedication and dedicating green space in perpetuity.
You must submit the following documents (as applicable):
These are required when the land is registered and can be obtained from the Land Registry (England and Wales), Registers for Scotland (Scotland) and Land & Property Services (Northern Ireland) for a small fee. Please ensure that these were issued within 12 months of submitting the application for protection.
If the land is registered under more than one title number, please ensure that all relevant title registers and plans are provided.
You must provide this if the land is unregistered.
If the land is comprised in more than one conveyance, please ensure that all relevant conveyances including plans are provided.
If the land is in part registered and in part unregistered, the appropriate evidence of ownership for each area must be supplied as required.
You must provide this if you are the tenant of the green space and hold a lease for a term of 99 years or longer, or if you are the freeholder of the green space to be dedicated and all or part of the space is subject to a lease to a charity, sports club or a local authority. We have a requirement that the leased area is accessible to the public, for example if the tenant is a sport club, members of the public are allowed to use the space when not in use by the sport club or via being a member of the sport club.
We do not require copies of leases over non-ancillary buildings and facilities as these will not be included in the Deed of Dedication.
If the landowner or the tenant of the green space is a sport club, charity or company, please ensure that a copy of their governing document is provided.
Where the whole of the registered property is to be dedicated, the title plan can be used. However, it may not be suitable to use if there are areas within the property that need to be excluded. If this is the case, you must provide a plan that has the following features:
This can be submitted following the site visit if a landowner is not sure whether to exclude any part of the space.
If there are facilities, buildings or structures within the green space which are not suitable for dedication, these must be outlined or shaded in another colour on the plan so that they can be excluded from the Deed of Dedication.
For more details please see the Land Registry guidance on preparation of plans in England and Wales.
The guidance contains an example of a plan that meets all Land Registry requirements and examples of poor plans.
Registers of Scotland's map requirements are published here.
The Land Registry of Northern Ireland's map requirements are published here.
In submitting an application to protect a green space you will need to have first obtained any necessary internal approvals, e.g. if you are a local authority you will probably have obtained approval from a Council or Committee meeting or from another delegated authority. Please provide a copy of the Meeting Minute approving the proposal to protect your green space(s). If the approval is by way of another delegated authority, please provide written confirmation from the representative with authority to approve the proposal.
If you are a custodian trustee or holding trustee, a copy of the resolution of the managing trustees agreeing to the dedication is required.
We require at least three high resolution landscape orientation photos (of minimum 1MB in JPG format) showing different aspects of your space including one panoramic shot.
The application form requires contact details of your legal representative, if applicable, information regarding facilities and activities on the space, Friends of groups, major events, funding received, and a short description of the space which will be used on our website.
We require the Deed of Dedication to be signed within three months of our solicitor providing you with a draft Deed of Dedication, excepting any extenuating circumstances. As a charity we invest staff resource and incur costs in processing an application. Where an applicant fails to complete the protection process, we reserve the right to charge for our costs. In submitting an application, you are confirming your ability and intention to complete the protection process and accept our terms should you fail to sign the Deed.
Once the application form and documents have been submitted you will receive an acknowledgment email. The application will be assessed, and a member of the Projects and Stewardship Team will contact you if they have queries.
The next step is for a site visit to be conducted by a member of the Projects and Stewardship Team to discuss the process and answer any queries.
Our in-house solicitor will then undertake a legal review and draft a Deed of Dedication for you.
When all parties are happy with the clauses in the Deed of Dedication, it will be signed and dated in as many copies as there are parties to the Deed so that each have an original dated copy for safekeeping.
Shortly after completion, a member of the Projects and Stewardship Team will be in touch regarding a plaque ordering.
Within three months of completion of the Deed of Dedication, the landowner of a green space situated in England and Wales is required to apply to the Land Registry to enter a restriction and a notice against the registered title of the property. The Land Registry fee is £80 for both the restriction and notice for up to three titles. If you use its business e-services, the fees will be £40.
The landowner of a green space situated in Scotland is required to register the Minute of Agreement in the Books of Council and Session. The Register of Scotland fee for registration of the Minute of Agreement is £20.
For green spaces in Northern Ireland, an inhibition will be registered at the Land Registry of Northern Ireland. The fee is £90 for a paper application and £70 for an electronic application.
For further guidance and advice please get in touch using our online contact form and a member of the team will get back to you.