What is an encroachment?

Any action – even temporary – which prevents Common Right Holders or grazing animals to access the surface of the Common is termed an encroachment. Examples include fences which exclude livestock, erection of structures, storage of materials, etc. People wishing to make an encroachment may apply to the Court Leet.

How do I apply for an encroachment?

Apply in writing to the Foreman of the Jury of the Court Leet: Mr James Welburn of Thorpe Farm, Appleton-le-Moors, York YO62 6TE. Your application should state the details of the property to which the encroachment will relate, a plan of suitable scale showing what form the encroachment will take, and your full name and address.

How and when are applications considered?

Applications for new encroachments are considered by the Jury of the Court Leet of the Manor of Spaunton. The Court Leet meets once a year, usually on the first Thursday in October, at the Manor House, Spaunton. If the encroachment is allowed the Court will set any attendant conditions including the level of fine to be paid.

How do I discover if my application has received consent?

If the Jury allows the encroachment it will also determine any conditions including the level of fine to be paid by the applicant. The Steward of the Manor will communicate the Jury’s decision to the applicant in writing. Encroachments approved by the Court are formally recorded on the Presentment (the Court Leet’s formal record).

Can I attend the Court Leet?

Applicants as well as members of the public may attend the Court Leet – space permitting – to observe proceedings. Applicants do not have the right to speak at the Court Leet, but may in exceptional circumstances be invited by the Steward to address the Court in order to explain their proposal.

Applying for an Encroachment

How long does the period of consent last?

There is a period of two years from the Court's decision during which the encroachment must be made. Failure to make the encroachment during that period means the consent lapses and the applicant will need to re-apply.
Once the encroachment has been made satisfactorily, consent continues so long as the conditions set by the Court are being met. These conditions are subject to regular review by the Court.

How much does it cost to apply for an encroachment?

There is no application fee, and all fines are assessed on a discretionary basis by the Jury together with any other conditions. However the general level of fines paid for various types of encroachment are as follows (as at October 2017)

Pedestrian access £8

Vehicular access £16

Garden, car park etc £30

Commercial sign £16

Underground pipes/wires £8

Potato garths £8

How often are the level of fines reviewed?

Since 2007 fines have been altered/reviewed every five years to reflect inflation over the previous five years. The last review was 2017 (for collection as per presentment in 2018) and the next review will be 2022 (for collection in October 2023). Should the level of inflation rise or fall steeply, a final decision would be made by the Jury to ensure figures remain “sensible”. This system allows everyone to have an indication of future costs.