Question 52: Should communities take a greater role in managing and maintaining new open space in the future?

Showing comments and forms 1 to 3 of 3

Comment

Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation

Representation ID: 279

Received: 30/03/2015

Respondent: SCRAPTOFT Parish Council

Representation Summary:

Yes

Full text:

Yes

Comment

Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation

Representation ID: 396

Received: 12/04/2015

Respondent: LUBENHAM Parish Council

Representation Summary:

Only if they are willing and capable of so doing

Full text:

Only if they are willing and capable of so doing

Comment

Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation

Representation ID: 422

Received: 15/04/2015

Respondent: Cllr Simon Galton

Representation Summary:

. My strong preference is for public ownership i.e. ownership of the site to be transferred to the District Council or the local parish

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.