Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation
Representation ID: 409
Respondent: Natural England
Paragraph 10.16 explains that information is being collected from communities concerning the quality of open space in the area with a view to developing a quality vision for open space. We welcome the importance attached to the quality of open space which this commitment represents. Aiming for the quality standards for accessible parks and green space represented by the Green Flag Award, Country Parks Accreditation and the Local Nature Reserve visitor standards may prove useful
Planning Consultation: Harborough District Council Open Spaces Strategy and Provision for Open Space Sport and Recreation: First Stage Issues Consultation
Thank you for your consultation on the above document which was received by Natural England on 25 February 2015.
Natural England is a non-departmental public body. Our statutory purpose is to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced, and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development.
Natural England welcomes Harborough District Council¡¦s review of its Open Spaces Strategy 2011 in line with the principles outlined in Chapter 2 Background:
„h enabling communities to nominate open space as Assets of Community Value;
„h protecting Open Space Sport and Recreation sites against development unless alternative provision is made; and
„h designating Local Green Space.
We have the following comments to make on specific aspects of the proposed strategy.
Chapter 1 Introduction
We welcome the recognition in paragraph 1.7 of the importance of connecting green spaces and settlements through a network of ¡§Greenways¡¨. Providing a well-managed accessible network of quality parks and green spaces will contribute to the City¡¦s Green Infrastructure and can provide the framework for environmentally sustainable development.
We note that the community¡¦s views will be sought to consider where this network could be developed, and how it will be paid for and managed. You may wish to refer to Natural England¡¥s Nature Nearby Accessible Natural Greenspace Guidance which aims to assist those planning and managing greenspace and provides a source of advice and support for delivering high quality nature nearby. It sets out the Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard (ANGSt), which recommends an approach for assessing greenspace needs.
Chapter 6 Open Space Typologies
We support the commitment in paragraph 6.4 to natural and semi-natural greenspaces, including urban and rural Woodland and Country Parks in the interests of wildlife conservation, biodiversity and environmental education and awareness. We strongly support the proposed development of Green Corridors or ¡§Greenways¡¨ for the purposes of walking, cycling, horse riding, other leisure pursuits and
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to provide opportunities for wildlife migration (paragraph 6.8).
Chapter 7 Aims
We acknowledge the aims of the strategy as set out in Chapter 7. We particularly welcome the following aims:
Aim 1 - To provide and maintain appropriate and good quality open space that is open to all and protected for future generations;
Aim 2 - Conservation and habitat is enhanced and protected;
Aim 3 - To ensure open spaces are safe and litter free;
Aim 4 - Voluntary groups are supported to use and manage open spaces;
Aim 7 - Ensure that open spaces support health and wellbeing of local people.
Chapter 8 Open Space in Harborough District - Background and Benefits of Open Space
We strongly support the commitment at paragraph 8.5 to adopt policies that allow for existing habitat to be protected and new habitat created.
We are encouraged by the statement in paragraph 8.7 recognising that Open Spaces play an important role in flood mitigation and we welcome the intention to engage stakeholders and partners to develop good open space planning and maintenance to help reduce the risk of flooding. This commitment to manage environmental assets in a sustainable way represents a positive approach towards climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Chapter 10 Open Spaces Audit and Assessment of Need
We agree that the accessibility of open space is an important consideration for the Open Spaces Strategy. We support the proposal to address any shortfalls of open space identified by communities close to where they live. Paragraph 10.12 suggests that this may include the requirement for additional play spaces that are local in nature and close to communities, as well as a requirement for strategic open space areas such as country parks that provide a destination site.
Paragraph 10.16 explains that information is being collected from communities concerning the quality of open space in the area with a view to developing a quality vision for open space. We welcome the importance attached to the quality of open space which this commitment represents. Aiming for the quality standards for accessible parks and green space represented by the Green Flag Award, Country Parks Accreditation and the Local Nature Reserve visitor standards may provide useful benchmarks against which to measure the quality vision.