Exemplar Award Winner- Best Practice Award Highly Commended 2013: Northumberland County Council
Village greens are an important local resource. They provide cultural and environmental value through green space provision and also provide a space for sports and leisure pursuits. Village green locations are recorded on registers created by councils. The registers hold details including descriptions of the land, use rights and any other restrictions. Accurate recording of these important spaces proved vital in Northumberland County Council.
Northumberland County Councils village green information was held by the legal team in paper based form in a vault. While the information was secure, the valuable information was not easily accessible and useable.
Lack of access to the information became all the more apparent when a particular village green required substantial ground work but there was no awareness among those involved that it was a registered village green.
The solution was to take the initiative and digitise the records and link them to the Local Street Gazetteer (LSG). Part of the task involved working with the legal team to see the value of sharing the information. The case example of the local village green that had not been recognised proved valuable to demonstrate the importance of sharing the information.
The team did need to recognise certain restrictions on the information being shared, for example that it should not be shared externally because it was not in the legal form. Agreement was made that the records were transposed into both the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) and Local Street Gazetteer (LSG) as the line representing the village greens intersected with the adopted highway.
In total, the task took one member of staff one working day to deliver.
The information is now published in Northumberland County Councils LSG and is linked to the LLPG. This ensures the ongoing protection of these valuable resources and ensures all understand their obligations in protecting them.
The awards highlight the importance of the sharing of knowledge to the benefit of all. The people who protect the legal status are happy that works will not take place without their knowledge, and Streetworks and the members are happy that there is now an automated way that will prevent this happening in future, all thanks to how the gazetteers work. Probably our smallest award in terms of time (a whole day between two people, LSG and LLPG), but a huge benefit in protecting these valuable areas in the future.