Policy BG/PO: Protecting open spaces

DRAFT version for various committee meetings.

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What will this policy do?

This policy will address how important open spaces are considered in the planning process.

Proposed policy direction

The Local Plan will continue to include policies which identify and protect open spaces, including village greens, parks, sports and recreation areas, allotments, community orchards and Protected Village Amenity Areas, and Local Green Space.

Why is this policy needed?

Our settlements contain a wide variety of open spaces, that make significant contributions to the character of places, but also provide important local amenities. It is important that these are protected from development that could have an adverse impact on these qualities. The type of projection will vary according to the type of space, and policy criteria will be needed for each, as is the case in the adopted 2018 Local Plans.

It will also need to continue to recognise that in some cases development on open space may be appropriate if it has limited qualities and would lead to overall quality or quantity improvements.

Access to a range of open spaces for different activities, for all ages is an essential part of sustaining healthy communities, supporting the local environment, and encouraging social interaction with local people. We are developing evidence on open spaces, and this will accompany the draft plan.

Local Green Space is a designation which applies a green belt style of protection. A number of these were identified in the last South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018 and will be carried forward into the new plan. They are required to be demonstrably special to a local community and hold a particular local significance. Reflecting this, the neighbourhood plan process would be particularly suited to demonstrating this local value and identifying new spaces if communities wish to identify further spaces.

What consultation have we done on this issue?

Feedback from the First Conversation consultation included that we should ensure everyone has access to green space. Residents should have access to areas for growing food, caring for the natural environment, green open spaces and small woodlands. We should identify important ecological areas in the Local Plan which can be augmented and connected, and which should be avoided by new development. We should provide accessible and all-weather exercise areas for all ages in green spaces.

What alternatives did we consider?

No Policy – Not considered a reasonable alternative as this would not plan positively for the provision of open space, which is required by national planning policy and would damage the character and quality of life in settlements.

Supporting evidence studies and topic papers

  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Topic paper 3: Biodiversity and Green Spaces  

Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018 

  • Policy SC/8: Protection of Existing Recreation Areas, Allotments and Community Orchards 

  • Policy NH/11: Protected Village Amenity Areas 

  • Policy NH/12: Local Green Space 

Cambridge Local Plan 2018 

  • Policy 67: Protection of open space

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