Village Green

Ownership and Plan
Little Gaddesden Parish Council has a long lease of the land that forms the Village Green (expires in 2140) and has under that lease the full responsibility for management of the grass and trees.
Plan of The Green, Little Gaddesden

Risk Assessment for the Village Green 

Local Wildlife Site Designation
Little Gaddesden Village Green is designated as a Local Wildlife Site. This is due to the presence of key grassland “indicator” species, which demonstrate that the site has an importance for nature conservation. As with all Local Wildlife Sites it is encouraged that the site is managed sympathetically. The wildflower management regime which is currently in place is of particular benefit by enhancing wildflower diversity to support pollinator species, such as bees.   A list of recorded species can be found here.

The trees are checked at least every three years by an Arboricultural Consultant, tree maintenance works are then planned to be carried out in accordance with the expert’s recommendations. We will let the grass grow long in a radius around the limes in particular to protect the trees from machinery damage.

The grass is cut by our regular contractor, currently Malcolm Weaver of MW Agri Ltd.   To find out more please click here.

Cutting regime
Following a survey of residents in May 2022 the residents voted 80 to 15 in favour of a Wild Flower Management regime, which means the grass is allowed to grow longer prior to cutting/drying and baling end of June/July. Monthly cuts resume thereafter.

The Council has sought advice from Dacorum Borough Council and The Countryside & Rights of Way Service in Hertfordshire County Council in respect of management of the Green and fire risk and has taken this into account in the timing of the above.   Please see extract below: 

Fire service advice to reduce the chances of fires in the countryside:

• Avoid open fires in the countryside, including barbecues. Always have them in safe, designated areas.

• Do not throw cigarette butts on the ground. Put out cigarettes properly before disposal.

• Do not leave bottles or glass on the ground, as sunlight shining through glass can start a fire.

• If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately by calling 999. Do not attempt to put out fires that cannot be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area immediately.

Grassland management:

Fires are not just a grassland problem and can start in many locations, such as woodlands, roadside hedgerows and arable fields.

To manage the fire risk posed by long grass, it should be cut before it is completely dried out. This means that the warmer and drier the season, the earlier you should aim to undertake hay cuts. If cut early, long grass will pose minimal fire risk.

Early cutting, if required, will not have a negative impact on biodiversity. Changing between earlier cuts (e.g. mid-July) and later cuts (e.g. late August) from year to year is beneficial for the grassland, rather than cutting at the same time each year.

Areas of overwintered long grass are of great benefit to wildlife and should be retained wherever possible even in hot and dry conditions. Due consideration can be given to their location so they are unlikely to cause fires to spread.

Line of Sight 

The contractor will mow the roadside of the Green to a depth of two metres back from the road, to provide sight lines from the accessways along the Green for a safe exit.

The contractor will mow the roadside of the Green to a depth of two metres back from the road, to provide sight lines from the accessways along the Green for a safe exit.

Footpath and Garden hedges
The Parish Council is keen to ensure that the full extent of the the tarmac path running along in front of the houses is available to pedestrians particularly those with wheelchairs and buggies and so would like to ask all residents who have gardens bordering the path to keep hedges well cut back and tended. This might necessitate occasionally giving a severe cut back rather than a regular trim.

Under the lease the Parish Council is responsible for ensuring that all byelaws are upheld. See link for Byelaws below.

Village Green Byelaws

The main byelaw that upsets residents is parking overnight which is not allowed under the Byelaws.

Parking on the Green
If there are circumstances when residents are needing to park overnight, perhaps a big birthday party or building works occupying a resident’s usual parking space in their property, then a temporary permission can be sought by emailing the Clerk. Provided that the resident agrees to reinstate any damage done and remove any litter or materials left behind then the Parish Council will usually grant a temporary permission. It is unlikely that permission will be given for any regular parking because to do so would risk a loss of the lease.

Advertisements on the Green
Occasionally adverts are needed either to advertise a Village Event or to give directional signage to a builder. The Parish Council will usually give permission for event signage for just the week before the event. Small boards placed at the northern end of the Green are acceptable, please email the Clerk with your request or ask ahead of time at a Parish Council meeting.

Services on the Green

Each year a variety of services taken place on the Green by agreement with the Parish Council.  These include Remembrance Sunday, the Service of Witness on Good Friday;  and a Christmas Carol Service in the week before Christmas.   Details regarding the dates of these can be found in the Gaddesden Diary.

The Green is also decorated twice a year:  in November the silhouettes of the Unknown Tommy Soldiers provided by the Royal British Legion stand guard for Remembrance fortnight.   And, from 1 December through to the 12th Night, a Christmas Tree illuminates the Green.  The tree is provided by the Parish Council and the local Christmas Tree Farm.