Open Spaces Strategy

Ended on the 2nd October 2015
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(2) Chapter 16 Aim 2. The natural environment, conservation and habitat is enhanced and protected


16.1. Harborough District's open spaces contain significant amounts of wildlife habitat which support a rich biodiversity. It is important that these habitats are managed sensitively to protect and enhance this biodiversity for current and future generations to enjoy. Priorities should include the conservation of natural habitats wherever possible, to increase wildlife value and improve biodiversity on all green spaces.

16.2. The Districts watercourses and reservoirs, woodlands and green wedges are important green infrastructure that is valued by communities and should be protected for community use and enjoyment and also for the habitat and conservation value it affords to wildlife.

16.3. There are a number of sites within the District that are designated.

  • Local Nature Reserves at Scraptoft and North Kilworth.
  • Leighfield Forest which straddles the border between Harborough and Rutland is a well-wooded area of high nature conservation, landscape and historical importance. Several Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) protect what remains of the ancient woodland.
  • One Geological SSSI.
  • Tilton Railway Cutting SSSI, which is a 750m section of disused railway cutting providing exposures of sediments which were deposited during the Lower Jurassic Period.

16.4. Leicestershire has a Local Nature Partnership in place which provides a forum for partner organisations to help their local area to manage the natural environment as a system and to embed its value in local decisions for the benefit of nature, people and the economy.

16.5. Harborough District sits within the catchment of the Welland, Avon and other main rivers are the Swift, Sence and Eyebrook. The Welland River Partnership, Welland Rivers Trust, and the Soar valley Partnership work within the District to deliver water quality and habitat improvements.

16.6. Open Spaces contribute towards the mitigation against flood risk. They provide an opportunity to incorporate Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS) which can provide habitat for wildlife and a visual amenity. The District Councils recommended approach towards incorporating SUDs in open space will be developed as part of the Strategy actions.

16.7. What has been achieved:

Local Nature Reserves

Battlefield Local Nature Reserve

North Kilworth Bogs

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Tilton Railway Cutting

Stanford Hall

Leighfield Forest

Allexton Wood

Chater Valley

Great Bowden Borrowpit

Misterton Marshes

Grand Union Canal

Local Wildlife Sites and SSSIs

See Appendix G

16.8. Related Policy

NPPF Section 11 para 109 and 114

Core Strategy Policy CS8

16.9 Objective 6: To promote better habitat and conservation and work with partners to manage key sites in line with best practice and site management plans where appropriate.

Actions to achieve this objective

  • Maintain an appropriate balance between amenity areas and areas for wildlife protection/enhancement.
  • Liaise with partners to ensure area for habitat and biodiversity are appropriately managed and where possible enhanced.
  • Periodically review site management plans and grounds maintenance practices to ensure that natural habitats are being managed in the most appropriate way.
  • Promote the planting of woodland within the District to better achieve The Woodland Trust access standard and the relevant actions of the LRWT Biodiversity Action Plan.
  • To provide a Developer Guidance note regarding the planting and landscaping of SUDS for promotion of biodiversity.
  • Comments to be provided at an early stage for landscaping and SUDS schemes on new development

16.10 Objective 7: Manage green spaces wherever possible in order to protect biodiversity and create multifunctional greenspaces for current and future generations to enjoy and learn.

Actions to achieve this objective

  • Continue to work in partnership with Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust and others to ensure habitat and biodiversity is protected, enhanced and accessible.
  • Establish and manage, where appropriate, meadow land, wetland and woodland on open space, taking account of management cost increases or decreases.

16.11 Objective 8: Ensure open space is retained for increased indirect environmental benefits such as surface water attenuation and mitigation against climate change.

Actions to achieve this objective

  • Promote the good design, landscaping, planting and construction of Sustainable Drainage systems and techniques that establish areas for habitat and biodiversity.
  • Harborough District Council will adopt new water attenuation structures and balancing lagoons (where other suitable partner management cannot be found) with an appropriate commuted sum in line with the Provision for Open space Sport and Recreation policy.
  • Harborough District Council will monitor flood alleviation structure not only for flood mitigation but for habitat management and improvement.
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