Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation
Chapter 2 Background
2.1 Harborough District Council adopted its Open Spaces Strategy in 2011 to help guide the development and management of Open Space within the District.
2.2 There have been some important National Policy changes that should now be reflected in the new Open Spaces Strategy. These include:
The Localism Act
- Communities able to nominate open space as Assets of Community Value
National Planning Policy Framework
- Open Space Sport and Recreation sites to be protected against development unless alternative provision made
- Local Green Space can be designated
2.3 The Open Spaces Strategy should also compliment work that other organisations undertake in Harborough District, these include amongst others:
- Local Nature Partnership
- Woodland Trust
- Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust
- Stepping Stones
2.4 Local Policy changes must also be taken account of and these include:
- Commencing development of a new Local Plan for Harborough District
- Asset Management Plan
- Requirement for a Playing Pitch Strategy
2.5 Other Local Policy changes include the requirement to update the Provision for Open Space Sport and Recreation: Developer Guidance document 2009.
2.6 This 2009 guidance fulfilled the following aims:
- Creating and protecting networks of accessible, high quality open space, sport and recreation facilities in both urban and rural areas, which meet the needs of residents and visitors, are fit for purpose and economically and environmentally sustainable;
- An appropriate balance between new provision and the enhancement of existing provision; and
- Clarity and reasonable certainty for developers and landowners in relation to the requirements and expectations of local planning authorities, in respect of open space, sport and recreation provision.
2.7 The National Planning Policy Framework 2012 (NPPF) extended previous planning guidance relating to open space, sport and recreation sites by stating that planning policies should be based on robust and up-to-date assessments of the needs for open space, sports and recreation facilities and opportunities for new provision.
2.8 The NPPF 2012 also states that Local planning authorities should:
set out a strategic approach in their Local Plans, planning positively for the creation, protection, enhancement and management of networks of biodiversity and green infrastructure;
Planning policies should protect and enhance public rights of way and access.Local authorities should seek opportunities to provide better facilities for users, for example by adding links to existing rights of way networks including National Trails.
2.9 The National Planning Practice Guidance (issued in 2014) gives further clarification by stating:
Open space, which includes all open space of public value, can take many forms, from formal sports pitches to open areas within a development, linear corridors and country parks. It can provide health and recreation benefits to people living and working nearby; have an ecological value and contribute to green infrastructure, as well as being an important part of the landscape and setting of built development, and an important component in the achievement of sustainable development.
2.10 This First Stage Issues consultation is split into two parts:
- Part One: Open Spaces Strategy; Issues and discussion
- Part Two: Provision for Open Space Sport and Recreation: Developer Guidance document; Issues and discussion