Open Spaces Strategy

Ended on the 2nd October 2015
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Chapter 32 Where are the open spaces to be provided?

32.1. If a housing development generates a need for new open space then, wherever possible, the open space should be provided on-site. This is because it is normally the best and most practicable way to meet the recreational needs of the new community. The open space that is provided should meet the relevant open space quality standard.

32.2. When providing open space on-site, there will usually be priority from developers to provide Amenity Greenspace before other types of open space. Care should be taken in assuming this because Amenity Greenspace is in oversupply in some areas of the District.

32.3. Some types of open space with larger minimum size standards are only likely to be provided on the largest planning application sites.

32.4. It may be possible to combine types of open space without adversely affecting their individual functions. Dual use in this way will be acceptable, so long as the quality of the open space function is not harmed. For example, it may be feasible to accommodate Amenity Greenspace or Semi Natural Greenspace within the clearance zones of Provision for Children and Young People.

32.5. Provision for habitat and biodiversity should be made when providing semi natural and natural greenspace, and where SUDS are provided on site they should contribute to biodiversity by employing the construction and planting techniques outlines SUDS for Wildlife and People document that will be written as part of the actions from the Open Spaces Strategy 2016 - 202.

32.6. Where a type of open space is provided on-site, the developer will normally be required to pay a commuted sum to cover the costs of future maintenanceif the open space is to be adopted by the Council. Further details about commuted sums for maintenance are given later in this document.

32.7. In some circumstances on-site provision of any or all of the types of open space that are required may not be possible to provide. The minimum useful size guidelines are shown below and these should be used when assessing whether an open space is viable. To ensure the provision of useable areas of open space which can be easily and economically maintained, open space should not normally be provided on-site if the levels required fall below the following minimum size standards:

  • Parks and Gardens: 0.25 hectares

  • Natural and Semi Natural Greenspaces (includes Urban Woodlands): 0.25 hectares

  • Outdoor Sports Facilities: 0.8 hectares

  • Amenity Greenspace (includes Green Corridors): 0.1 hectares

  • Provision for Children and Young People: 0.04 hectares

  • Allotments and Community Gardens: 0.2 hectares

  • Cemeteries, and Other Burial Grounds: No minimum size.

32.8. There is no minimum size standard for Cemeteries and Other Burial Grounds as provision of this typology on site is unlikely.

32.9. If it is not possible to provide the typologies of open space at reasonable sizes and dimensions on-site, then developers will be required to make a developer contribution towards the new provision or enhancement of that typology of open space off-site. Developer contributions for off site provision will only normally be sought if they can be targeted to a site that lies within the relevant distance threshold of the proposed housing development and is suitable for use as open space. Wherever possible, the sites should be accessible by public transport and cycle paths.

32.10. The exception to this is Cemetery and Burial Ground provision, where contributions will be sought for sites that may be outside the distance threshold.

32.11. How are developer contributions for off-site open space calculated?

32.11.1. The amount of contribution sought from a developer will depend on whether there is an element for land purchase. If the contribution is to be used to purchase a new site, then the land purchase cost per hectare will be sought; otherwise the contribution will be used to enhance an existing site. Costs based on developer contributions per dwelling for each type of open space are shown in Chapter 33 at the end of this document. They are based on 2015 District Council contract costs from the integrated contact and will be revised annually in line with the annual indices used in the integrated contract. The costs have been rounded up or down to the nearest whole number.

32.12. How are commuted sums for the maintenance of open space calculated?

32.12.1. Where the provision of open space is made on site and is of benefit to the occupants of a proposed development and the wider public, the developer will be required to pay a commuted sum to cover the cost of future maintenance for thirty years, if the open space is transferred to the Council. This is to avoid circumstances where open spaces become neglected and deteriorate and are no longer safe or useful to the community they serve.

32.12.2. Provision of open space on-site will always involve the payment of a commuted sum to cover maintenance costs if the open space is transferred to the Council. The Council will also work with communities and partners to find the most suitable local management organisation to maintain the open space in perpetuity.

32.12.3. Where an open space is provided on site, it should be maintained by the developer to the satisfaction of the District Council for a period of 12 months after practical completion. Upon the expiry of this 12 month maintenance period, the open space shall be transferred to either the Council or nominated organisation following the payment of a commuted sum to cover its future maintenance for 30 years. The developer will be obliged to ensure that the open space is to the standards outlined in Appendix 5 - Adoption Standards Requirements, and that they comply with any planning conditions and approved plans.

32.12.4. Commuted sums are shown in Chapter 34 at the end of this document. The commuted sums give the cost of maintaining each typology of open space per annum and will be revised each year according to the indices used in the HDC Grounds Maintenance Contract.

32.12.5. The commuted sum for maintenance for a 30 year period is calculated using a Net present Value Factor of 21.8. The detailed calculations for this can be found at Appendix 4

32.13. How is the provision open space to be secured?

32.13.1. Applicants must enter into a planning obligation in the form of a Section 106 Agreement with the Council for provision of open space commuted sums and/or off site contributions. The S106 controls the development, maintenance and transfer of ownership of the land to the Council. It will be necessary for a developer to appoint a solicitor to act on their behalf and will also have to make a contribution to the Council's legal and monitoring costs.

32.13.2. The Council accounts for the provision, enhancement and maintenance of open space commuted sums separately. These contributions cannot be used for the funding of projects other than those that are on open space as captured in the District Council asset database.

32.13.3. Developer contributions and/or commuted payments that are made for one type of open space cannot be used to provide, enhance or maintain another type of open space.

32.13.4. Contributions will be ring fenced until there are sufficient funds to undertake the projects identified, however the CIL regulations concerning pooling of S106 will at all times be adhered to by monitoring the allocation and spending of S106 monies.

32.13.5. If the funds remain unspent usually after seven years, but in some cases ten years, after completion of the development, they will normally be repaid to the developer unless they have been ring fenced for a large strategic project and this has been agreed with the developer at the time of negotiation of the S106 agreement.

32.13.6. The Council will only allocate the spending of funds to enhance an area of open space if the facility has a minimum security of tenure of 20 years, at the time of spending.

Further information

For further information contact:

Matthew Bills
Neighbourhood and Green Spaces Officer

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