Rushden Village Greens

News on Planting

February 2021-Update

"The first of the three phases of remediation of Southern Green has now been completed by the planting of a mixed English hedge. The plants in it are quickthorn, blackthorn, field maple, hazel, crab apple, dog rose and dogwood."


Christopher Hill and Charles Gutteridge, trustees.



In the November Edition of the Parish Gazette, the Parish Council invited expressions of interest from residents who would like to be considered as trustees of the Rushden village greens. That invitation is reproduced here:    


This is an update from the Parish Council on the work that has been carried out on Southern Green to restore the Green to its original boundaries as an open space for the recreation of residents. This is the duty set out in the Trust Deed.


One overgrown hedge that had encroached on the Green has been removed and the resulting cleared area shows how much of the Green has been lost over the past 20 years or more. This area will now be sown with a grass and wildflower mix. A mixed English hedge will be planted in January/February along the boundary leaving the ditch clear for drainage.


In view of some strong opposition to this work, the current Trustees intend to stand down at final completion of this phase but have suggested the setting up of a Committee of new Trustees (apostrophe deleted) which will take over full responsibility for all three Rushden Greens.


Any Rushden resident wishing to be involved as a new Trustee in the management and maintenance of Southern Green, Shaw Green and Church Green please advise the Parish Council at 


Since then, no one has made a specific approach to be considered as a trustee, but there has been a series of questions received for background information.


Those questions and the trustees’ replies are useful for giving more detail about the history of the village greens, what will be considered about applicants and proposals for the future.

The questions and responses are as follows:


Response to enquiries for preliminary information about new trustee application(s).


Queries received:

1. What are the terms of reference?

2. The job description?

3. What is the selection process for the committee and who will be involved in selection? Is there a “person specification”?

4. Will the new committee be expected to complete the future works planned by the outgoing trustees?

5. What plans are in place for the transfer of information etc and will I be able to view any accounts?

6. Financial processes will need to be clarified

7. Who will be registered owners of the land going forward?

8. Are the current trustees intending to retain any interest/involvement in the committee?




1. The terms of reference are in the original trust deed, a copy of which is attached. It is a simple document, reciting a duty on the trustees and contains fixed obligations, which trustees are bound to follow. A very neat summary is that it is the duty to preserve the three Rushden greens as open land for the recreation of the residents of Rushden. 


2. In the past, the trust has run by fulfilling the requirements of the trust deed, without any separate operating constitution, but keeping records of correspondence and actions.. There is no specific job description for a trustee, but see the next response.


3. Appointment of new trustees is a matter for existing trustees. There is no process laid down except that if existing trustees propose new ones, the new ones have to be approved at an annual meeting of the Rushden parish assembly. This is not the Parish Council. It is not the case that the parish assembly appoints. It can either confirm or reject a suggestion from existing trustees. Members of the Parish Council may opt to serve as trustees. At present, an offer has been made by the existing trustees and no PC member elected to take office.


Publicity by the Parish Council, in the past, inviting new blood, implied that a committee of trustees would be formed. This is not based on the existing trust paperwork but on a hope that a number of people would volunteer to pool their talents. There is therefore no current specification for the constitution of a committee of trustees. If enough people volunteer to be those trustees, they are free to make their own suggestions for the future of the trust and its administration, whilst adhering to the obligations in the original deed.


For the avoidance of doubt, the trust deed does not cater for a committee of non-trustees who then direct the legally appointed trustees.


There is no person specification. The existing trustees will look to see if applicants have sympathy with the aims of the trust deed and respect for its legal commitments. They will bear in mind an applicant’s history in the village, involvement in village activities and interests, take account of any past indication of support for the legal duties of the trust and ideas for the future conservation of the land.



4,5,7,8. All of these queries should be taken together. The current trustees do not feel it fair to have new trustees appointed and simply cease to assist, leaving the new ones to “sink or swim”. Therefore, works which are already in hand are proposed to be completed. This largely involves Southern Green and the additional removal of scrubby growth or non-native plantings, to restore the verdant appearance and enhance the Conservation Area.


A substantial number of residents have supported recent work, continuing work and indeed urged the current trustees not to step down.


A newt survey is planned. The results will be notified to the police because a report of risk has been made by residents. Work will be guided by the result of the survey. 


There is a hedgerow removal consent already in place.


Because of the proposal to phase in new trustees – and this will perhaps take a year between parish assembly meetings – the voluminous records of the trust can be introduced to any new “administration designated” trustee, over time, to allow assimilation.


There are no formal annual accounts of the trust on an income – expenditure basis, because there are minimal inputs of income and minimal outgoings. So, for the entire history of the trust (so far as can be ascertained from the existing records) the bank statements with invoices and notes have served well as accounts. Again, if any new appointees wish for formal modernisation of the accounts (no doubt at extra cost), they are welcome to propose it and see if it finds favour. 


The registered title to the trust land:

The first registration of title was done by Christopher Hill and Charles Gutteridge, the current registered owners. They are not owners in the conventional sense, but trustees complying with the burdens of the original trust deed, which is noted at the Land Registry. It is possible to add new trustees to the title, although that involves fees and it may be better to wait until Messrs. Hill and Gutteridge finally leave the trust before registering new trustee owners.


It would be possible to transfer the land to the Custodian of Charities to avoid repeat transfers as and when new trustees appear, but there are disadvantages. The trust makes some income by confirming rights-of-way which have been legally acquired by long use rather than permission and the conveyancing aspects will be more difficult and more expensive if trustees are not personally registered as owners.


Distilled from all the above, the current trustees propose to remain to finish off existing plans and to assist the handover to new trustees.


Thereafter, anyone who comes on board as trustee(s) will be at liberty to take the trust obligations forward with whatever agreed administrative arrangements they wish.


6  This query is not understood. The two current trustees are signatories to the bank accounts. Decisions are taken jointly. The bank statements with notes and invoices give a full financial picture.


Therefore, once again, the Parish Council asks for anyone interested in being considered as a trustee to get in touch at or to either trustee: 


Chris Hill

Charles Gutteridge


Southern Green, Church Green and Shaw Green now have title registered at the Land Registry. A copy of the land register itself can be seen together with extracts from the official plan showing the boundaries of each of the Greens. 

Click here

Noted on the registered title are deeds granting rights-of-way (and sometimes rights for drains pipes wires et cetera) where residents in the past have wanted a formal document. The need for such a document is becoming a requirement of mortgage lenders, more and more and often eases the process of selling a house to someone who has not been used to living in a country area. Deeds can provide not only for rights of access and to have services running across the green but also the ability to access those services for repair and maintenance, which is not a responsibility of the trustees. Other properties may have the benefit of rights to pass across the green, simply through use for a long time although there are some old “leases” or licences where past trustees gave permission for access and so rights cannot be acquired by long use. The formal deeds first referred to above, continue to benefit the property even when there is a change of owner.

In April 2014, a written note was circulated to residents on or close to Southern Green and Church Green. For the benefit of the whole village, parts of that note are dealt with below.

On 6th February 1931, Southern Green, Church Green and Shaw Green were given
to trustees by the then owners, “uponTrust that the Trustees shall forever hereafter
stand seized of the premises hereby conveyed to preserve the said lands as open
spaces for the purpose of recreation of the inhabitants of Rushden ...may manage or
let the said land for the purposes aforesaid and there shall be vested in them
absolute discretion as to the type of recreation to be permitted on each of the said
pieces or parcels of land”

Unfortunately, although the Trustees were given land and duties, there is almost no incomewith which to carry them out! A small payment is received annually for an electricity wayleave and a once and for all payment for telephone lines and cables was recently obtained instead of a tiny annual rent. A modest fund has been built up over the years, which takes a substantial hit when trees need maintenance. We do some work and welcome assistance from residents who do some maintenance or grass cutting. Particular thanks should be given to John Dingemans and Martin Croker, who at different times have helped with an annual cut of those areas not dealt with by adjacent householders.

The Greens are registered as Common Land but not because separate public rights
have arisen from long use to be exercised without reference to the Trustees’
ownership. In essence, the land is private but the Trustees have a duty to keep it open and residents of Rushden may have the amenity of it.
The basic position is that the greens should not be obstructed. Deeds granting rights of way do not add to the title of the house which benefits. Drives remain part of the open space and available for villagers to ramble where they wish. Neither drives nor the greens themselves are car parks (although there is no objection to deliveries, workmen’s vehicles or a specific “party type “ need for occasional parking).

We would like to take this opportunity to commit to print for future guidance (and to provide something to hand over on a change of ownership), what we see as good use of the Greensand our maintenance plans.

Hedging and trees
Hedges have expanded and thickened.  We intend to push back their boundaries to correctadvances made over the years, clear the scrubby area between Parknasilla and YounglovesCottage, and tidy the verges from Youngloves Cottage to the Youngloves Barns gateway. Areas of brambles need to be taken back or removed. We would like to see the hedges maintained with English native species.

Southern Green and Church Green are in the village Conservation Area with the
consequence that trees are protected. Only the Trustees should be involved in any
attention which may be needed to those on the Greens.

We are happy to leave mowing as a personal preference.

Edging and other verge protection
Please do not put stones poles or planking at the edge of the Greens or along
drives, in spite of the inability of some couriers etc to keep to hard surfacing. The
Greens do recover in spring/summer. If anyone wishes to install hard plastic mesh
which is shallow buried and becomes invisible, as protection for the edges of drives,
but not to form parking areas, we have no objection.

We intend to build up areas on the greens which have suffered from vehicle damage.

The Trustees and registered owners are:

Chris Hill, Friars Grange, Offley Green, Rushden. 01763288266
Charles Gutteridge, Ty Cottage, Southern Green. 01763281272

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