Open Spaces Strategy

Ended on the 2nd October 2015
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Chapter 17 Aim 3. To ensure open spaces are safe and litter free, and contribute towards a safe environment


17.1. The District Council has, under Common and Statutory Law, a responsibility to manage and maintain its open spaces in a manner that protects users from harm. The Council has a greater duty of care when children or young people may be at risk.

17.2. Children should have access to challenging and innovative play environments where they can take acceptable levels of risk, but not exposed to risk that may result in serious injury or death. Risk taking is an essential part of play and allows children to learn and develop their capabilities.

17.3. The District Council should also manage and maintain its open space to reduce the risk of claims against it for accidents. This can be through good design, consultation with users, appropriate maintenance, renovation and inspection.

17.4. Cemeteries and burial grounds have many large gravestones and monuments which require specialist repair and monitoring; the District Council will ensure that the sites within its control are adequately monitored, and advice is rolled out to Parish Council and others concerning making these area as safe as possible.

17.5. Safe and efficient operations are required to ensure the risk to public and contractors is minimised. The Health and Safety at Work Act, Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations amongst others help to reduce risk to public and contractors. For a more comprehensive list of legislation that open spaces will operate under see Appendix E.

17.6. Open Spaces should be welcoming places, and places that people want to visit and feel safe. Well maintained and high quality sites can reduce the fear of crime and reduce anti social behaviour. Local involvement by community groups can have a marked reduction in antisocial behaviour.

17.7. Litter collection and dog fouling have both proved to be issues that communities ask to be addressed. Regular monitoring of cleanliness through LEQSE (Local Environmental Quality Survey of England), and a robust grounds maintenance and street cleansing contract have allowed open spaces to be maintained to a high standard and achieve a good quality.

17.8. Additionally dog fouling is monitored by enforcement officers and fixed penalty notices issued where appropriate. Raising the profile of the issues created by fouling dogs has also ensured communities are aware of the problems and can deal with them.

17.9. What has been achieved since 2009:

Play Areas

Dedicated team for play area inspections

Annual RoSPA inspections for play area

RoSPA inspections rolled out to Parish Councils

Programme of play area renovations


% of sites maintained to standard

Contract Management

Regular site inspections

Programmed Tree Surveys

Tree work programme

Street light maintenance

Community Safety

Anti Dog Fouling and reporting

Graffiti reporting

Anti Social behaviour reporting

Supporting Neighbourhood Watch

Provision of information regarding drug and alcohol abuse support and reporting


Smartwater areas for HDC assets

17.10. Related Policy

NPPF 2012

Health and Safety At Work

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations

EN1176 and EN177


Environmental Protection Act 1990

17.11 Objective 9: Ensure open space sites are maintained in a clean condition

Actions to achieve this objective

  • Ensure the frequency of litter picks is appropriate to maintain the site to at least Grade A in zone 1 areas and Grade B elsewhere according to LEQSE

  • Remove graffiti within ???

  • Address and action reports of dog fouling and broken glass within???

  • Undertake a programme of park furniture and play area cleansing on an annual basis

  • Liaise and work with partners to ensure open spaces across the District are maintained safely and litter free

17.12 Objective 10: Reduce the fear of crime and antisocial behaviour on open spaces.

Actions to achieve this objective

  • The community safety team will continue to work in open spaces to reduce anti social behaviour, dog fouling and graffiti and issue penalties to offenders.

  • The community safety team will continue to encourage people to report incidences of crime or anti social behaviour

  • Ensure staff, volunteers and contractors that come into contact with children and vulnerable adults meet the requirements of HDC Safeguarding Duties and Policies

17.13 Objective 11: Balance the conflicting requirements to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour, but still provide interesting landscaped areas which protect the natural environment

Actions to achieve this objective

  • Work with landscapers and other partners to reduce the fear of crime through good design that is not detrimental to users or biodiversity

  • Monitor the contract to ensure planting is appropriately managed to prevent sight lines becoming overgrown.

  • Where appropriate use 'soft policing' to monitor areas of open space.

17.14 Objective 12: Reduce the risk of accidents on all typologies of open space and play areas by regular inspection, repair and replacement where needed

Actions to achieve this objective

  • Contracted Services and their appointed contractor will continue to monitor open spaces and play areas as per the grounds maintenance contract;

  • Defects reported in a timely way and ensuring that repair or replacement of the defective item is undertaken as soon as possible.

  • Ensure that RoSPA inspections on play areas are undertaken annually and all defects are repaired or items replaced.

  • Ensure a rolling programme of tree inspections is undertaken using an Arboricultural Association approved consultant on a five yearly cycle, or more often if recommended. All works arsing from the survey will be carried out according to the recommendations.

  • Memorials in Cemeteries and Closed Churchyards will be inspected for safety on a five year cycle by suitably qualified persons. All works arising will be carried out according to the risk assessment at the time of inspection.

  • Play equipment will be replaced on an ongoing basis, with adequate funding made available to Contracted Services following the annual RoSPA audit of play provision.

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