Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation

Ended on the 13 April 2015
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Open Spaces Audit and Assessment of Need

10.1 Intended outcomes

  • To confirm the current amounts of open space within Harborough District, whether publicly or privately owned.
  • To confirm into which typology the open space best fits
  • To update and reflect the views of the community, officers, partnership organisations and other stakeholders concerning the minimum level of provision for each typology of open space.
  • To update and reflect the views of the community and other stakeholders on Quantity, Quality and Accessibility of existing open space.
  • To update and reflect the views of the community and other stakeholders on provision of new open space in the future in terms of Quantity , Quality and Accessibility


10.2 To facilitate feedback from communities concerning evidence that is to be collected for this section of the consultation, Parish Councils are provided with a list of Open Space Sport and Recreation sites within their Parishes. These sites are currently held on the Harborough District Council database and are irrespective of ownership.

10.3 Views are sought on the information outlined below.

10.4 The original data for the Open Space Needs Assessment was collected in 2004, with minimum provision, quality and accessibility standards being developed through consultation.

(1) 10.5 The data held by Harborough District Council has been updated continually since 2004 to reflect the current amount of open space in the District. It would be prudent, however, to use this opportunity to check with communities whether the entire open space portfolio for Harborough District has been accounted for.

10.6 We therefore intend to consult with communities to verify existing information held on the Council’s data base, and seek information concerning any additional open space sport and recreation sites that communities wish to register and collect evidence for that registration (Please note that further information will be collected about sites in due course as part of the Open Spaces Consultation).

10.7 Open Space Sport and Recreation sites are defined as:

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 (see National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 114), 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 (see National Planning Policy Framework paragraphs 6-10).

10.8 Minimum provision standards were developed during the 2004 consultation, and these should now be refreshed to reflect the current needs of the community for open space, and the requirement of the National Planning Policy Framework for an up to date and robust needs assessment.

10.9 The current minimum provision standards are shown in Table 6:

10.10 Table 6

Open Space Type Quantity Provision Standard
Parks and Gardens 0.4 ha per 1000 population
Natural and Semi-natural areas 8.5 ha per 1,000 population (rural area)
1.5 ha per 1,000 population (urban area)
Green Corridors PPG17 suggested a quantity standard not required due to the nature of the typology.
It states that “there is no sensible way of stating a provision standard”
Amenity Greenspace 0.9 ha per 1000 population
Provision for Children and Young People 0.3 ha per 1000 population
Outdoor Sports Facilities Fields in Trust: 'Planning and Design for Outdoor Sport and Play'
The 2008 revision of Fields in Trust's Six Acre Standard, now called
Planning and Design for Outdoor Sport and Play, clarifies that the standard
relates only to outdoor play space, which is not the only form of open space.
Fields in Trust now recommends the use of Benchmark Standards relating to quantity,
quality and accessibility as a guide and helpful tool to those local authorities determining
their own local standards. The quantitative aspect of the Standards indicates provision
per 1000 population of 4 acres (1.6 hectares) for outdoor sport, including pitches and greens
Allotments and Community Gardens 0.35 ha per 1000 population
Cemeteries and Burial Grounds 0.35ha per 1000 population
Civic Spaces No standard set. Usually provided on an opportunity basis rather than demand led.

(1) 10.11 We are seeking views on the existing provision standards to determine whether they are still appropriate, and if amendment is required to determine the level of minimum provision required.

(5) Question: Do you consider the minimum provision standards are still relevant, or should they go up or down?

(4) Question: Can you provide evidence for an increase in or decrease in the minimum provision threshold?

(1) 10.12 Accessibility of open space is an important consideration for the Open Spaces Strategy. It is proposed to refresh the accessibility standards for all typologies to determine whether communities perceive their open space to be sufficiently close to the place where they live and whether any shortfalls in open space can be addressed through additional policies. This may include the requirement for additional play spaces that are local in nature and close to communities, as well as a requirement for strategic open space areas such as country parks that provide a destination site.

10.13 The current accessibility standards are shown in Table 7:

(1) 10.14 Table 7

Open Space Type Suggested Accessibility Provision Standard
Parks and Gardens
10 mins (drive)
Natural and Semi-natural areas
20 mins (walk)
Green Corridors
20 mins (walk)
Amenity Greenspace
10 mins (walk)
Provision for Children and Young People
5-10 mins (walk)
400m – 800m
Outdoor Sports Facilities
10 mins (drive)
Allotments and Community Gardens
10 mins (drive)
Cemeteries and Burial Grounds
5 mins drive
Civic Spaces This typology and others to be determined through consultation

10.15 We are seeking feedback on the minimum accessibility thresholds for all typologies of open space to determine whether the existing standards are appropriate.

(5) Question: Do you consider the minimum accessibility standards are still relevant, or should they go up or down?

(2) Question: Can you provide evidence for an increase in or decrease in the minimum accessibility standards threshold?

(1) 10.16 Information is also being collected from communities concerning the quality of open space in their area. It is proposed that a quality vision will be refreshed and used to develop assessment criteria for quality that can be used by Harborough District Council and other open space managers to develop maintenance regimes that deliver what the community requires in terms of quality.

10.17 The current quality vision for open space is:

"a clean, litter and dog fouling free area that is well-lit and provides a lev-el of varied vegetation and biodiversity, including well-kept grass and other natural features where suitable. The site should be regularly maintained and have suitable parking in close proximity where appropriate."

10.18 Comments are sought form consultees at this stage so that a refreshed quality vision can be included in the draft Open Spaces Strategy.

(4) Question: Do you consider that the quality vision for open space is still relevant? If not, how should it be updated?

(2) Question: Is a single overall quality vision preferred to a quality vision for each typology of open space?

10.19 The methodology proposed to be used in assessing the current need is that used in Sport England’s Guidance (Planning Practice Guidance), which in turn follows roughly the same methodology as the 2004 Open Spaces Assessment undertaken for Harborough District Council.

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