Agenda item

Local Development Framework: Open Space Assessment (Agenda Item 6)

Report of the Strategic Director (Business Transformation).


Due to the considerable size of the supporting documentation, this has been circulated in cd-rom form to Members and other consultees under separate cover for information.


A presentation will be given at the meeting.


The Planning Policy Assistant presented the report, which was submitted for members’ information, and explained that the assessment formed part of the evidence base for the Breckland Local Development Framework.  The assessment included an audit of all open space provision within Breckland as required by the Government’s Planning Policy Guidance 17 (PPG17).  A detailed qualitative and quantitative assessment was made on outdoor sports facilities and children’s play facilities, and the results of this assessment had helped to formulate local standards for outdoor sports provision and children’s play provision.  The report also outlined proposed developer contributions and on-site provision for outdoor sport and children’s play areas.  The assessment was developed with input from the Community Engagement Team and the assessment had provided evidence for the Breckland Play Strategy.  The standards proposed in the Open Space Assessment should also help deliver the goals of the Breckland Play Strategy.


Maps illustrating the location and types of outdoor playing space within the District were shown and details of the results of the audit and assessment were explained.


During discussion, the following issues were highlighted:


  • The need for provision of multi-sports facilities, such as an athletic track, to serve the towns and villages. It was felt that this would offer more inclusive scope for sports and play provision.  In the case of Thetford, Growth Point status offered opportunities to consider the question of providing for a multi-sports facility to serve the surrounding area and this could be factored into the Area Action Plan.  There was an indicative response that this would not conflict with the terms of the PFI.  

  • So far as off-site provision in relation to developments of less than 30 dwellings was concerned, the proposed standards adopted a sequential approach and only where it was not practical to make provision on-site would off-site provision through the use of commuted sums be considered.  Provision needed to be agreed at an early stage in the planning process and the LDF sought to address this.

  • Provision was generally conditioned through Section 106 Agreements.  It should be reasonable to put a covenant in a Section 106 Agreement that outdoor play space was implemented as developments took place.  In connection with the issue of Section 106 Agreements, the Council was currently undertaking a review of this process and a visit was to be made to Colchester which was a Beacon Authority on Section 106 and a report back would be made on the findings of this visit.

  • Grouping of villages in relation to outdoor play space provision had to have regard to local wishes and accessibility.  It was confirmed that the proposal for grouping villages would be subject to consultation with the parishes.  The initial groupings took into account issues such as transport links and were centred on those villages where development was taking place.  The initial groupings had not been centred on the towns.

  • Consideration needed to be given to provision for teenage outdoor play space.  In this connection, members felt much more could be achieved through use of schools’ outdoor facilities; it was recognised, however, that there were health and safety issues from such use that would need to be addressed and the support of the schools themselves for such provision would be needed.

  • In relation to community funding bids through Lottery Grant under the Council’s Play Strategy, it was noted that details of future funding opportunities were awaited and would be reported when known.  It was suggested schemes should reflect Ward areas where the resource of Ward Members could be utilized in helping to define bids.

  • There were risks that the financial thresholds for contributions for outdoor space provision on developments in addition to those for education, fire, policy and other infrastructure would affect house prices or lead developers to land-bank and could deter small or single-dwelling developers.

         RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Supporting documents: