Agenda item

Open Space Assessment and Strategy


The Committee considered the report presented by the Business Manager – Planning Policy & Infrastructure which sought to update Members on progress towards the production of an Open Space Assessment and Strategy.  The report also sought approval for consultation to be undertaken on a draft version of the document. 


The report set out that Knight Kavanagh & Page (KKP) had been appointed to undertake an assessment of the existing and future open space needs of communities and to prepare an open space strategy which would be used to set open space standards in new development, determine where Section 106 monies should be spent to improve existing facilities and to inform the direction on the future provision of accessible, high quality, sustainable provision of open spaces in the district.  KKP had also investigated potential opportunities for reducing carbon and mitigating the impact of climate change in the district’s open spaces.


Paragraph 3.0 of the report provided details of how the open spaces had been identified and what methodology had been used to assess the existing spaces.  It was reported that provision standards had been developed which would be used to influence future investment in open space.  Four strategic recommendations were listed together with information in relation to identifying anticipated deficiencies in provision and climate change implications. 


In presenting the report the Business Manager advised that meetings had been held with some parish and town councils and local district Members to sense check the findings of the assessment.  Initial feedback from the parishes had been to question what action they needed to take; how the study could be used by them; and how would the district council assist them in its use.


In considering the report a Member referred to the small villages within the Collingham ward and their wish to update their play areas.  She noted the low amount of precept they had to achieve that and requested that assistance be given to them in how this might be achieved.


It was noted by a Member that sports pitch provision was covered by a different strategy.  He suggested that when the document was fully consulted on that this be made clear so as to avoid unnecessary responses about the provision of football pitches etc.  He also suggested that thought be given to the strategy arising out of the assessment in how the district council could help the larger parish and town councils to address, for example, enhancements or expansion of the open space in their areas.  At present the proposed strategy would be a useful tool for the district in planning terms but it required more detail to be of use to the town and parish councils.  In response, the Business Manager advised that some of the proposals could relate to possible fundamental or significant changes, however, many more related to the management and maintenance of the open space.


In response to how the document was written and received by the public, the Director – Planning & Growth advised that when the document was circulated for consultation it would be necessary to also issue a ‘common sense’ narrative to enable the consultee to fully understand its contents.  He added that in relation to the document’s intended use, he stated that consideration would need to be given as to how it was funded in the future and also the possibilities of leverage of funding for future development.


AGREED      (unanimously) that:


(a)     progress toward the development of an Open Space Strategy be noted; and


(b)     consultation be undertaken on the Draft Open Space Assessment and Strategy as set out in Section 4 of the report.

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