6.4 Table 2

Showing comments and forms 1 to 5 of 5

Comment

Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation

Representation ID: 354

Received: 12/04/2015

Respondent: LUBENHAM Parish Council

Representation Summary:

Play spaces should not be limited to children and young people for interaction. These should be multi age group areas where all ages can play/interact together. These can equally provide exercise equipment for adults , especially senior citizens.

Full text:

Play spaces should not be limited to children and young people for interaction. These should be multi age group areas where all ages can play/interact together. These can equally provide exercise equipment for adults , especially senior citizens.

Comment

Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation

Representation ID: 404

Received: 14/04/2015

Respondent: mr michael hitchcox

Representation Summary:

I also think the Strategy should highlight the lack of significant public woodland within a reasonable distance of Market Harborough.
The Welland Woodland group's aims are to buy land and plant trees local to where people live.

Full text:

Having read a number of HDC reports I would now like to make some comments, both as an individual and as chair of the Welland Woodlands Group (this group is currently closed down but can be resurrected if land becomes available).

HDC's Open Spaces Strategy documentation appears very comprehensive but my main interest is those parts relating to Natural and Semi-natural spaces and Green Corridors.

I would like the Strategy to place emphasis upon the fact that South Leicestershire/Harborough District has one of the lowest percentages of tree-cover in England (source: Forestry Commission). This would give balance to the perception that 'rural Harborough is over-provisioned in natural and semi-natural spaces'. Our rural landscape is predominately farmland. I also think the Strategy should highlight the lack of significant public woodland within a reasonable distance of Market Harborough (the closest may be Carlton Park, Corby).

You may recall that Welland Woodlands is/was a local voluntary group (Big Society) which hoped to rectify 'acute under provision' by obtaining land and creating woodlands. We secured grants in excess of £100,000 to purchase land but we failed to find any landowner who was willing to sell (one landowner was expecting his holdings to become 'building land' even though it was 2 miles out of town!

One of the conclusions of Open Spaces Strategy 2004 is that our rapidly expanding town must have more open spaces, including woodlands, and I assume that is why HDC is demanding a 'country park' from developers. This is good but we will still need to secure more land to meet our aspirations for more open spaces. Given that no-one wants to sell land, except to builders, would HDC consider using Compulsory Purchase Order to secure land?

The Welland Woodland group's aims are to buy land and plant trees local to where people live. The group will obtain charitable trust status and manage the woodland in perpetuity. We could possibly consider expanding our community role by contracting to manage open spaces currently owned by HDC?

Given central and local governments policies of involving local communities, it would seem that we share similar aims and objectives. It would be good if we can find a way to make it work.

Comment

Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation

Representation ID: 420

Received: 14/04/2015

Respondent: Mr Michael Lord

Representation Summary:

There is a need for natural open spaces which are there for their visual amenity and habitat. They may have no access or controlled or limited access in order to protect them. Some of these open spaces might be privately owned and hence access would be under the owner's control. Those under the Council's control should not be over-managed.

Full text:

HDC Open Spaces Strategy, Easy Read Consultation, March 2015

Responses to the specific questions on the 'Easy Read' document

(Letters have been added to indicate the sequence of questions)

Section/Question Page Response
2 a 4 Yes
b 5 Yes
c 5 Yes, but not all are suitable e.g. disused railway lines may be in private ownership and public footpaths can not be used by cycles.
d 5 Yes, but this may not always be possible e.g. when disused railway lines are in private ownership
5 a 7 No. So more of all are desirable
b 7 Parks, children, allotments and cemeteries there does not seem enough space. There are no cemeteries, allotments or community gardens in Thurnby and Bushby. Also there is no provision in Thurnby and Bushby for young people as all the play areas as far as we are aware provide only for younger children.
6 a 7 This is difficult to answer as it depends on how fit the person is and whether or not they have transport or public transport is provided. (This difficulty applies also to 6b, c, d, e and f). Certainly allotments, children's play areas, amenity space and parks need to be close
b 8 5 minutes walk for an averagely fit adult
c 8 Natural, semi-natural, sports, cemeteries
d 8 10 to 15 minutes on foot for an averagely fit adult
e 8 Yes, near bus route for sports and cemeteries
f 8 An open space doesn't have to be 'exciting'! It does help if it is free from litter etc, so some regular maintenance is important
g 8 None
7 a 10 The Vision sounds good
b 11 The aims also sound good and match the vision and would hopefully, improve the surroundings and our enjoyment of the area
c 11 We don't think the aims should be changed

Open Spaces on New Developments

Getting developers to comply with conditions on Open Spaces is important and the Council needs to have the means to do this.

Maintenance of the open spaces is often contracted to a private Company and the costs charged as a levy on the residents. Many residents resent this for many reasons including:
* anyone from outside the development can use the Open Spaces which the residents are paying for
* the Company's performance can leave a lot to be desired - infrequent visits and jobs neglected.
The Council needs to be aware of this and devise a better arrangement. If the maintenance is contracted out then the Company must be chosen carefully and closely monitored.

Natural Open Spaces

There is a need for natural open spaces which are there for their visual amenity and habitat. They may have no access or controlled or limited access in order to protect them. Some of these open spaces might be privately owned and hence access would be under the owner's control. Those under the Council's control should not be over-managed.

Access

There is a popular misconception that designating an Open Space implies public access, even if that space is privately owned. This is not the case. So this should be made clear somewhere in the Policy.


M.J.Lord
on behalf of the Thurnby and Bushby Society

10 April 2015

Comment

Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation

Representation ID: 425

Received: 15/04/2015

Respondent: Cllr Simon Galton

Representation Summary:

ponds and SUDs generally especially where they are part of the open space within the site. The government's decision to pass approving SUDs arrangements and establishing maintenance regimes to LPAs makes this even more important. As Mentioned these areas usually have public access and can be designed to encourage wildlife and incorporated into the overall green space provision for a site and therefore I feel we should develop a policy on this as part of the strategy

Full text:

There wasn't a specific box for members and in any case it may not be appropriate to submit a response on a document which I hope to be involved in scrutinising / approving at a later stage. However, I do want to comment of 2 issues I feel strongly about based on past and current experiences locally in dealing with developers and the management of open spaces after developers have completed the development sold the houses and left which usually means they and no longer have an interest in what happens afterwards.

The draft document addresses the issue of adopting open spaces and other categories of amenity green space etc. My strong preference is for public ownership i.e. ownership of the site to be transferred to the District Council or the local parish. In respect of large sites, play areas e.g. NEAPs with lots of equipment and sports pitches etc. my preference would be the district council but could be the parish in larger areas such as Lutterworth / Broughton where they are resourced to manage such areas. For small areas of open space / amenity spaces the normal arrangement should be transfer to the parish. However the issue of management and maintenance can and should be considered separately and a policy developed as part of the strategy. For pitches and formal sports provision leases to clubs e.g. the Watkins model should be promoted and this could be extended to smaller green spaces and play areas for community groups with "friends of xx recreation area" being encouraged to take on the management of sites but perhaps with the Council looking after trees works / inspections and capital maintenance / replacement of play equipment etc. The Council's role might change to supporting groups and communities and making funds available but whatever management models are developed the key issue is that the site remains in public ownership / available to the community for ever.

I have great concerns about private management / maintenance and how we would be able to influence outcomes and deal with problems / companies refusing to carry out their obligations. In the end the Council will still get the complaints and be expected to sort them out. With significant new development planned in Harborough there is a concern we will be creating poorly maintained public space in the future which will have a negative impact on the quality of the district's environment.

Finally I think the strategy needs to address the issue of storm water balancing areas, ponds and SUDs generally especially where they are part of the open space within the site. The government's decision to pass approving SUDs arrangements and establishing maintenance regimes to LPAs makes this even more important. As Mentioned these areas usually have public access and can be designed to encourage wildlife and incorporated into the overall green space provision for a site and therefore I feel we should develop a policy on this as part of the strategy. Again my preference would be adoption by the Council not least because the need for proper long term maintenance is even more important to minimise flood risk. The key issue would securing a sufficient commuted sum in the s106. 15 years is far too low and I would suggest the starting point should be the life of the facility? If we can get commuted payments to reflect the true costs we should be able to minimise financial risk to the Council which I know is something senior officers are concerned about.

I hope these comments are useful and look forward to having an input into the next stage of the strategy.

Comment

Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation

Representation ID: 428

Received: 15/04/2015

Respondent: THURNBY AND BUSHBY Parish Council

Representation Summary:

All seven of the currently defined areas of open space are important and the descriptions of them and how they are used are entirely appropriate.

Full text:

RESPONSE TO THE HARBOROUGH DISTRICT COUNCIL OPEN SPACES STRATEGY: FIRST STAGE ISSUES CONSULTATION (easy read version of consultation)

General Comment:
This shortened version of the on-line consultation document made it much easier for the Parish Council to respond. It is suggested that the approach be adopted for future consultations and made available on-line alongside the full consultation document. It should perhaps be emphasised, where appropriate, that such consultations are at a strategic level to discourage locally focussed responses and encourage a wider District view.

Sue Bloy
Clerk to the Parish Council

SECTION
QUESTION/STATEMENT RESPONSES/COMMENTS
2. What is an Open Space? Do you think that all the sorts of open spaces above, and the way that people use them, are important?
All seven of the currently defined areas of open space are important and the descriptions of them and how they are used are entirely appropriate.
Do you think that it would be a good idea to have these new sorts of open spaces included in our Open Spaces Strategy?
Fully endorse the addition of Civic Spaces and Green Corridors or Greenways as additional areas of open space. These would also have benefits in relation to tourism.
Do you think that Greenways for cycling would be important for healthy cycling and walking and also useful for people to get to work? Support. In addition to enabling people to get to work 'Greenways' might be used for children cycling/walking to school.
Do you think that Harborough District Council should try and work with other people to build cycle routes using railway lines that are not used anymore? This would be like the Brampton Valley Way and would be useful to help people keep fit and healthy. Support. There are opportunities here for s106 agreements to include contributions by Developers.

Ditto response to previous question.
5. How much open space should be provided? Do you think that the amount of open space that we have written down sounds okay?
While recognising the basis for the calculations as detailed in the full document, the District Council is encouraged to view that amounts for the various forms of open space should be seen as the minimum expectation/requirement.

Are there any open spaces that you think there should be more of or less of? This might be because the ones you use are very busy or it might be because they do not get used at all. It might be that you and your friends do not live close enough to a particular sort of open space to be able to walk to it.
* Amenity green spaces in new developments should be adequate to meet the needs of residents and be protected from future housing development. They should be landscaped with trees etc. bearing in mind the need to balance the short/medium term impact of trees planted and the longer term desirable provision for future generations.
* Provision for children and young people - this needs to be adequate to meet the needs of an expanding population.
* Cemeteries - there is a need for additional provision across the District to meet the needs of communities. This is of particular importance in communities where cemeteries are closed and available burial grounds are at some distance.
6. How far are you prepared to walk or travel to open space? Think about the sorts of open spaces we have written down. Which of these open spaces needs to be very close to people's homes? Amenity green space including smaller play areas.
How long do you think it should take to walk to the open spaces which are close to people's homes? 5 - 10 minutes
Are there any sorts of open space that would be okay if they were put further away?
Sports fields, cemeteries and allotments. However, security issues should be taken into account when siting such facilities eg allotments.
How long would you be happy to travel to these open spaces either by foot, bike or bus? 10 - 15 minutes
Do you think that it is important that any open spaces that you have to travel to are close to a bus route?
Yes in an ideal world. However, there are many places across the District where there is either inadequate or no bus provision.
The open space close to us isn't very exciting, what can the Council do about that?
Presumably both these two statements/questions refer to 'Open spaces do not have all the things that people want' rather than 'Distances that people are prepared to walk or travel to'. The Parish Council has therefore addressed both accordingly.

It is crucial that open spaces have adequate provision of street furniture (eg litter bins, seating for the elderly and infirm) and, where appropriate, are well lit. There should be a repair and maintenance programme to ensure that street furniture, play equipment etc is not allowed to fall into disrepair. Incidents of vandalism need to be addressed promptly in order to discourage further damage and 'copycat' incidents.
Tell us if you have any open spaces that you use, where the things that are provided are old, damaged or there needs to be more equipment and facilities.

7. What does the Council do with the information you have given? We would like to hear your thoughts about this vision and whether you think it is too short or too long and how it might need to be changed.
Suggested amendment to 'Vision' - "Our vision is to provide quality open space which is what the community wants; is accessible to all; valued and enjoyed by everyone; and, is well maintained and protected for future generations."

In addition, it is vital that decisions regarding where open space(s) will be located are made by the Council in conjunction with Parish/Town Councils and the community and not by developers.
What do you think of the aims, and what they mean to you?
Overall the aims are good, but some of the wording needs tightening up - eg the 'What this means' column is too wordy.
Do you think that any of these aims should be changed? If so how should they be changed?
Suggested amendments to aims:

Aim 3: amend 'What this means' to read "We will make sure that people using open spaces feel safe at all times and that open spaces are clean and clear of litter and fouling."

Aim 4: 'What this means' needs some examples of how groups will be supported.

Aim 6: Larger open spaces such as parks should be encouraged to have cafés which will give a service to the community thus encouraging use of the open space and provide a local business opportunity.

Suggested additional Aim 8: "Open Space has educational value by providing local places for school visits and fieldwork, and other activities for young people."