Neighbourhood Plan Group clarify Green Space issue
Some villagers have been confused by the phrase ‘local green space’ used in the draft Neighbourhood Plan which has been circulated in summary form to every home and in detailed form on this website.
A spokesperson for the group said ‘It’s been brought to our attention that there has been some misunderstanding so we’d like to clarify this term. It simply means an area of land within a built-up area which is not currently built upon. Usually the term is used to state that the Neighbourhood Plan seeks to keep it unbuilt upon. It does not mean an area for open public access. It does not affect the ownership of the land or who might have access to it. We apologise for any confusion but the document obliges us to us planning terminology which is not always plain speak’.
The Neighbourhood Plan Group is manning a stand in the foyer of the Village Hall on EU Referendum Day, Thursday 23rd June.
The full planning speak clarification of the point is reproduced below.
LOCAL GREEN SPACE: GUIDANCE NOTES
1. NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY FRAMEWORK
The Local Green Space designation will not be appropriate for most green areas or open space. The designation should only be used:
● where the green space is in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves;
● where the green area is demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value (including as a playing field), tranquillity or richness of its wildlife; and
● where the green area concerned is local in character and is not an extensive tract of land.
Local policy for managing development within a Local Green Space should be consistent with policy for Green Belts.
2. NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY GUIDANCE
What is Local Green Space designation?
Local Green Space designation is a way to provide special protection against development for green areas of particular importance to local communities.
How is land designated as Local Green Space?
Local Green Space designation is for use in Local Plans or Neighbourhood Plans. These plans can identify on a map (‘designate’) green areas for special protection. Anyone who wants an area to be designated as Local Green Space should contact the local planning authority about the contents of its local plan or get involved in neighbourhood planning.
How does Local Green Space designation relate to development?
Designating any Local Green Space will need to be consistent with local planning for sustainable development in the area. In particular, plans must identify sufficient land in suitable locations to meet identified development needs and the Local Green Space designation should not be used in a way that undermines this aim of plan making.
What if land has planning permission for development?
Local Green Space designation will rarely be appropriate where the land has planning permission for development. Exceptions could be where the development would be compatible with the reasons for designation or where planning permission is no longer capable of being implemented.
Can all communities benefit from Local Green Space?
Local Green Spaces may be designated where those spaces are demonstrably special to the local community, whether in a village or in a neighbourhood in a town or city.
What if land is already protected by Green Belt or as Metropolitan Open Land (in London)?
If land is already protected by Green Belt policy, or in London, policy on Metropolitan Open Land, then consideration should be given to whether any additional local benefit would be gained by designation as Local Green Space.
One potential benefit in areas where protection from development is the norm (e.g. villages included in the green belt) but where there could be exceptions is that the Local Green Space designation could help to identify areas that are of particular importance to the local community.
What if land is already protected by designations such as National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Site of Special Scientific Interest, Scheduled Monument or conservation area?
Different types of designations are intended to achieve different purposes. If land is already protected by designation, then consideration should be given to whether any additional local benefit would be gained by designation as Local Green Space.
What types of green area can be identified as Local Green Space?
The green area will need to meet the criteria set out in paragraph 77 of the National Planning Policy Framework. Whether to designate land is a matter for local discretion. For example, green areas could include land where sports pavilions, boating lakes or structures such as war memorials are located, allotments, or urban spaces that provide a tranquil oasis.
How close does a Local Green Space need to be to the community it serves?
The proximity of a Local Green Space to the community it serves will depend on local circumstances, including why the green area is seen as special, but it must be reasonably close. For example, if public access is a key factor, then the site would normally be within easy walking distance of the community served.
How big can a Local Green Space be?
There are no hard and fast rules about how big a Local Green Space can be because places are different and a degree of judgment will inevitably be needed. However, paragraph 77 of the National Planning Policy Framework is clear that Local Green Space designation should only be used where the green area concerned is not an extensive tract of land. Consequently blanket designation of open countryside adjacent to settlements will not be appropriate. In particular, designation should not be proposed as a ‘back door’ way to try to achieve what would amount to a new area of Green Belt by another name.
Is there a minimum area?
Provided land can meet the criteria at paragraph 77 of the National Planning Policy Framework there is no lower size limit for a Local Green Space.
What about public access?
Some areas that may be considered for designation as Local Green Space may already have largely unrestricted public access, though even in places like parks there may be some restrictions. However, other land could be considered for designation even if there is no public access (e.g. green areas which are valued because of their wildlife, historic significance and/or beauty).
Designation does not in itself confer any rights of public access over what exists at present. Any additional access would be a matter for separate negotiation with land owners, whose legal rights must be respected.
What about public rights of way?
Areas that may be considered for designation as Local Green Space may be crossed by public rights of way. There is no need to designate linear corridors as Local Green Space simply to protect rights of way, which are already protected under other legislation.
Does land need to be in public ownership?
A Local Green Space does not need to be in public ownership. However, the local planning authority (in the case of local plan making) or the qualifying body (in the case of neighbourhood plan making) should contact landowners at an early stage about proposals to designate any part of their land as Local Green Space. Landowners will have opportunities to make representations in respect of proposals in a draft plan.
Would designation place any restrictions or obligations on landowners?
Designating a green area as Local Green Space would give it protection consistent with that in respect of Green Belt, but otherwise there are no new restrictions or obligations on landowners.
Who will manage Local Green Space?
Management of land designated as Local Green Space will remain the responsibility of its owner. If the features that make a green area special and locally significant are to be conserved, how it will be managed in the future is likely to be an important consideration. Local communities can consider how, with the landowner’s agreement, they might be able to get involved, perhaps in partnership with interested organisations that can provide advice or resources.
Can a Local Green Space be registered as an Asset of Community Value?
Land designated as Local Green Space may potentially also be nominated for listing by the local authority as an Asset of Community Value. Listing gives community interest groups an opportunity to bid if the owner wants to dispose of the land.