Common land

As well as being the highway authority, Norfolk County Council is also the registration authority for commons.

As commons registration authority, we hold the map showing all the registered commons in the County. We also hold the register recording the ownership of that land, and any rights which are held over it (e.g. the rights to graze cattle). Please note - the ownership register will only show who owned the land when it was registered as a common in the late 1960s or early 1970s. For up-to-date information, contact the Land Registry.

Sometimes the commons map shows that land has been registered as common which is also down on our records as highway land.

The Act of Parliament (Commons Registration Act 1965) which required commons to be registered stated that common land could not include highway land. However, the same Act said that where land is registered as common, this fact on its own does not mean that the land is not highway. In other words, the simple fact that land is registered as common does not on its own mean that the land cannot be highway. Unless and until evidence is produced which shows that one or the other record is incorrect, the land co-exists as both common and highway.

There is legislation which protects the activities which can and cannot be carried out on commons, and on highway land. For example, in some circumstances where a fence or other structure is placed on a common, that is unlawful even if planning permission has been granted. Additional permission is needed from the Secretary of State for the fence/structure, etc., to be on the common.

Application documents