Open Spaces Strategy

Ended on the 2nd October 2015
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Chapter 27 Scope of the open space and sport and recreation consultation

27.1. The consultation during 2015 sought to determine which open space and recreation typologies were relevant to Harborough District.

These include:

  • parks and gardens,

  • natural and semi-natural areas,

  • amenity greenspace,

  • provision for children and young people,

  • outdoor sports facilities,

  • allotments,

  • cemeteries and burial grounds

Two new typologies not previously included in open space assessments were supported through consultation. These being:

  • green corridors,

  • civic spaces.

The primary uses of these open space typologies can be found at Appendix 3.

(1) 27.2. What is needed for the assessment of need for open space, sport and recreation?

27.2.1. A local assessment of open space and open space needs enables the Council to:

plan positively, creatively and effectively in identifying priority areas for improvement and to target appropriate types of open space required

ensure an adequate provision of high quality, accessible open space to meet the needs of community

ensure any accessible funding is invested in the right places where there is the most need

conduct S106 negotiations with developers from a position of knowledge with evidence to support.

27.2.2. The 2015 update to this document enables the Council:

To update the baseline information so that it reflects changes to the quantity of open space, sports and recreation provision in the District since 2009.

To identify future needs for open space, sport and recreation provision up until 2031 in accordance with the new Local Plan.

Identify where additional open space, sport and recreation provision is required to meet needs on submission of planning applications

work with communities to identify qualitative shortfalls in open space sport and recreation provision and address these where possible.

27.2.3. The vision for Open Space in Harborough District is:

'To protect, enhance and provide quality open space that is safe, supports wildlife, is valued and enjoyed by people and contributes to their health and well being'

27.2.4. The document Provision for Open Space Sport and Recreation considers each of the open space typologies individually and has enabled the Council to provide a vision for each typology, and provide quantitative, qualitative and accessibility thresholds for each. The vision for each typology and the thresholds can be found at Appendix 1.

27.3. Methodology of the needs assessment

27.3.1. The methodology and development of the needs assessment was undertaken in accordance with the guidance provided in Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 (Planning for Open Space Sport and Recreation, July 2002) and its Companion Guide (September 2002).Details of consultation can be found in Appendix 2.

27.3.2. The PPG 17 Companion Guide sets out a 5 step logical process for undertaking a local assessment of open space and recreation. This process was used in developing this study using our own appropriate mechanisms that meet the requirements of the council to plan, monitor and set targets for the existing and future provision of open space within the District.

The 5-step process is as follows:

  • Step 1 - Identifying Local Needs

  • Step 2 - Auditing Local Provision

  • Step 3 - Setting Provision Standards

  • Step 4 - Applying Provision Standards

  • Step 5 - Drafting Implementation and Action Plan.

27.3.3. The above information has given the baseline data for provision of open spaces sport and recreation sites across the district. During 2015 consultation has been undertaken with communities to assess the existing provision, and whether it is considered this is at an appropriate level. Consideration has also been given by communities concerning the accessibility and quality of open space.

27.3.4. This new baseline data is used to assess provision of open space when a planning application is submitted. It will be constantly updated on the 'live' database and provide relevant information to the development industry concerning the amount of open space that should be provided.

27.4. Provision Standards

27.4.1. The local provision standards justified through the consultation are detailed below. The methodology for setting these standards has been followed in accordance with PPG17 and using both qualitative and quantitative information sources both from the audit and consultation. Standards have been developed in terms of both accessibility and quantity.

27.4.2. Quantity Provision Standard

Open Space Type Suggested 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

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 ha per 1000 population

Provision for Children and Young People

0.3 ha per 1000 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 ha per 1000 population

Cemeteries and Burial Grounds

0.35ha per 1000 population (See appendix 3 for details)

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

27.4.3. Quantity

When applying the quantity provision standards the following key points were extracted. It should be noted that this analysis is 'in general' and for each planning application over 10 units, a tailored analysis will be provided to determine whether or not there is a deficit or over supply of each typology.

Analysis Areas for Harborough District

  • Parks & Gardens: there is a deficiency of parks and gardens within all areas of the District, the largest of which is in Kibworth, Fleckney and Great Glen. There are only a small number of parks and gardens within the District

  • Natural and Semi-Natural: as a result of the predominantly rural nature of natural and semi natural open space, and the vastly different levels of provision between the more urban areas of the District (Market Harborough and Lubenham, and Lutterworth and Broughton Astley) two standards were set. Overall, there is considered to be an over-supply of natural and semi natural open spaces, and only Market Harborough and Lubenham is perceived to have shortfalls in natural and semi natural provision

  • Amenity Greenspace: only the Market Harborough and Lubenham areas have a surplus of amenity greenspace, all other areas are currently considered to have a shortfall of provision

  • Provision for Children and Young People: there is a total deficiency of provision across the District equating to over 10 hectares of provision, and there is a deficiency in each of the analysis areas, the largest of which is in Market Harborough and Lubenham

  • Allotments: there is an overall deficiency of allotments within the District, however there is a small oversupply of provision within the Peatling and Bosworth analysis area

Analysis Areas

27.4.4. Conclusion

There are shortfalls of open space throughout the district. Harborough District Council will use the most up to date information concerning current open space provision to undertake a bespoke analysis on behalf of the development industry as planning application are made.

This analysis will demonstrate whether there is an oversupply or deficit of each typology of open space with the accessibility thresholds. Where a deficit occurs the developer will be expected to provide open space on site that is related to the size of the new development.

Off site contributions may be sought for some open space typologies that cannot be provided on site, due to either their nature or site constraints. Where this is required the Council will work with developers to identify projects that are related to the new development and adhere to the CIL rules.

27.4.5. Quality

27.4.6. There are many high quality open spaces provided within the District of Harborough with the majority of sites rated as average or above and more sites than any other rated as 'good' or 'very good'. Very few sites were considered to be poor or very poor.

The quality of cemeteries and churchyards, outdoor sports facilities and parks and gardens was considered to be particularly good.

The main quality issues within the District were perceived to be:

  • dog fouling

  • parking

  • toilets

27.4.7. Communities and Parish Councils were asked to consider quality of open spaces and how they would like open space quality to be seen in the future. Using the feedback received the following quality vision has been produced.

'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'.

A further detailed analysis for each typology can be found at Appendix 1.

27.4.8. Conclusion

There is a relatively good quality of open space and recreation facilities within the District, however there are some poor quality open spaces that require upgrading.

Where sites have been identified, within the accessibility thresholds of the development site, that require work to bring them up to an acceptable standard, the District Council will work with the developers and land owners to provide off site contributions. We will at all times ensure that the contributions adhere to the CIL rules concerning developer payments.

27.4.9. Accessibility

Most open spaces within the District are accessible to the public, with the majority of sites considered to be good or very good in terms of accessibility. The main area of concern appears to be public transport links, which are felt to inhibit the usage of some sites. The Open Spaces Strategy 2015 states that where possible new open spaces should be located close to bus or cycling routes.

The study allowed the development of accessibility standards. These are illustrated in table below.

27.4.10. Accessibility Provision Standard

Open Space Type Suggested Accessibility Provision Standard



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

no standard set due to nature of typology

27.4.11. Conclusion

The accessibility thresholds will be used to calculate the existing amount of open space that is relevant to each planning application site. They will also be used to calculate the population within the accessibility threshold for each typology of open space. Using this information the Council will be able to determine whether a shortfall or an over supply exists for each typology.

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