Open Spaces Strategy

Ended on the 2nd October 2015
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Chapter 13 Minimum Provision, Accessibility and Quality Thresholds

13.1. During Consultation communities were asked to comment on the proposed quantity, accessibility and quality provision standards for open spaces.

13.2. In 2004 local standards were developed to ensure that open space was provided in sufficient quantity, accessibility and quality based on national guidance. These standards ensure that appropriate amounts of open space are available for communities. This approach has been used since 2009 to successfully provide open space on new development. During consultation in 2015 communities have fed back that they consider that standards are appropriate. The full 2004 needs assessment for open space can be found at Appendix A.

13.3. By continuing to use this approach the Council is fulfilling its enabling role for provision of new open space.

13.4. A summary of the 2015 consultation responses can be found at Appendix J.

(3) 13.5. Quantity Provision Standard

13.5.1. Through consultation we have been able to determine appropriate and up to date quantity provision standards. These are shown in the table below.

13.5.2. The Quantity Provision Standard will be used when assessing the requirement for new open spaces to be provided as part of housing or other development.

13.5.3. A tailored assessment of each planning application of more than 10 dwellings is undertaken, and a shortfall or oversupply for each typology is determined.

13.5.4. Where there is a shortfall within the typologies accessibility threshold (see Accessibility Provision Standard) a contribution of open space, on site, is required. Where there is an oversupply no provision of open space is required.

13.5.5. The data used to assess the current provision is updated continually, ensuring that robust and appropriate information can be given to developers and others when assessing the current provision of open space.

13.5.6. Further detailed information and use of the Quantity Provision Standard can be found in the document 'Provision for Open Space Sport and Recreation' contained at Appendix I.

Name of Open Space Quantity Provision Standard

Parks and Gardens

0.4 Hectare per 1000 people in the population

Natural and Semi-natural areas

8.5 hectare per 1,000 people (in a country area)
1.5 ha per 1,000 people population ( in a city or town area)

Green Corridors

1.3ha per 1000 population which is approximately a 3.3km route 3 m wide per 1000 population, but will be sought when opportunity arises

Amenity Greenspace

0.9 hectare per 1000 people in the population

Provision for Children and Young People

0.03 hectare per 1000 people in the population

Outdoor Sports Facilities

'Fields in Trust' survey 2015 determined that 1.6 to 2.0 ha per 1000 population was an appropriate level of provision based on responses to their survey. HDC has previously used 1.6 ha per 1000 population as a minimum provision and local consultation has determined that respondents still consider this appropriate.

Allotments and Community Gardens

0.35 hectare per 1000 people in the population

Cemeteries and Burial Grounds

0.35hectare per 1000 people in the population

Civic Spaces

There is not a normal amount for this sort of open space. The Council would look to provide new pedestrian spaces when a new shopping centre is built or enhance existing civic spaces through contributions

(1) 13.6. Accessibility Provision Standard

13.6.1. Through consultation we have been able to determine the accessibility standard that is appropriate to communities in the District. The Accessibility Provision Standards are shown in the table opposite.

13.6.2. When asked whether a differential approach for accessibility should be taken for urban and rural areas or an approach based on the settlement hierarchy, none of the respondents believed that this was necessary.

13.6.3. The accessibility provision standard provides the accessibility thresholds for each typology. When assessing whether there is an over supply or shortfall of open space, each typology is assessed separately to determine the current provision with in the appropriate radius of the site.

13.6.4. Accessibility has been shown to be important through the responses to consultation. Not only for open space to be sufficiently close to where people live, but also be accessible to transport links.

Open Space Type Accessibility Provision Standard
Time Distance

Parks and Gardens

10 mins (drive or bus)


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 or bus)


Allotments and Community Gardens

10 mins (drive or bus)


Cemeteries and Burial Grounds

5 mins drive or bus


Civic Spaces

This typology is limited to a very small number of sites in urban areas. An accessibility threshold would not therefore be appropriate

*this should the furthest a person should have to walk or cycle before being able to join a network of greenways.
** Consultation suggested that the Woodland Trust accessibility thresholds should be used for access to woodland assets.

13.7. Access to Woodland

13.7.1. The Woodland Trust has undertaken work to determine the distance people need to travel to access woodland in England. They aspire to a minimum accessibility standard of:

  • a wood of at least 2 ha within 500m of their home; and

  • a wood of at least 20 ha within 4km of their home

13.7.2. Harborough District Council will use these standards with the District and seek to work with The Woodland trust and other partner organisations to provide new access to woodland, and promote access that has been forgotten or neglected.

13.7.3. We will work with The Woodland Trust to ensure that all accessible woodland is identified and mapped with in the District.

13.7.4. There are 50 woods within a 20 mile radius of Market Harborough; however as the table below shows, the local access to woodland in Harborough District is very poor compared with the national average. A list of accessible woodland known to the Woodland trust is shown at Appendix K.

13.7.5. In addition to the support the Woodland Trust work in the district, the work of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust(LRWT) will also be promoted and supported where possible. The Leighfield Forest is an important habitat at District level and Harborough District Council will use the relevant actions within the Biodiversity Action Plan of the LRWT to help ensure the Leighfield Forest and other important woodland is enhanced and protected.

Woodland in Harborough District Accessible Woodland Inaccessible Woodland Woodland Creation


% of population with access to a 2ha+ wood within 500m

% of population with access to a 20ha+ wood within 4km

% extra population with access to a 2ha+ wood within 500m if existing woods opened

% extra population with access to a 20ha+ wood within 4km if existing woods opened

% population requiring new woodland to be able to access a 2ha+ wood within 500m

% population requiring new woodland to be able to access a 20ha+ wood within 4km

Total area of new 2ha+ woods needed to meet 500m access standard (hectares)

Total area of new 20ha+ woods needed to meet 4km access standard (hectares)



















13.8. Quality Provision Standard

13.8.1. The quality of open space throughout the District is generally good. There is however a theme that runs through the user group and workshop sessions that are asking for site specific improvements to open spaces. This should be addressed through site management plans and renovation schemes.

13.8.2. The overall quality vision for open space should be:

'A Clean, litter free and dog fouling free area that has appropriate facilities, amenities, habitat and biodiversity that are maintained appropriately, accessible and in a usable condition'

13.8.3. The measure of whether the quality of an open space achieves the quality vision should be made using the LEQSE (Local Environmental Quality Survey of England) monitoring tool and Contracted Services Grounds Monitoring tool. This allows utilisation of an existing monitoring system and applies no further burden to Contracted Services staff.

13.8.4. Contracted Services should be contacted for further information concerning these quality monitoring tools. Further details of these monitoring tools can be found at Appendix L and Appendix M.

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