Open space, play and allotments.

Policy PODM9: Open space on land, play space, sports fields and allotments.

  1. Existing open space provision
    1. Development that would result in the loss of existing sport, recreational (including play space), allotment or amenity open space as identified on the policies maps and identified by the Authority’s constituent district councils in their evidence base will only be permitted if it can be demonstrated (through a local assessment) that:
    2. There is an excess of the type of open space to be affected by the development/proposal in the catchment area (in and out of the Broads) and the proposed loss will not result in a current or likely shortfall during the plan period; or
    3. The proposal is for ancillary development on an appropriate portion of the open space which enhances the recreational facilities and their setting; or
    4. The open space which would be lost because of the proposed development would be replaced prior to the commencement of the development by an open space of equivalent or better quality and equivalent or greater quantity, in an equally accessible and convenient location subject to equivalent or better management arrangements which continue to meet the needs of the existing community; and
    5. The proposal would not cause significant harm to the amenity or biodiversity value of the open space.
    6. Proposals that improve the amenity or biodiversity value of the open space in an appropriate way will be supported.
  2. New open space provision
    1. The Broads Authority will have regard to the approach and/or standards set by the relevant constituent district council[43].
    2. Any contribution will need to be towards a specific deliverable scheme, in consultation with the relevant parish or district council and having regard to the developer contributions policy in this document. The contribution will be required to name a specific scheme (site and type of provision).
    3. Open space provision may also be required to reduce recreation pressure on sensitive designated wildlife sites.
    4. New open space provision will need to provide biodiversity enhancements in an appropriate way in line with policy PODM14 on the Natural Environment.
    5. Any lighting associated with open space will need to be designed in line with policy PODM27 on Dark Skies.
    6. Artificial pitches that are designed to require water will not be permitted. Other new pitches that required watering will need to demonstrate how water will be supplied and used sustainably.
    7. Layouts should site functional public open space – including play and recreational facilities - in locations where it can be easily accessed by existing and new residents. Accessible natural greenspace should also be located where it can be used by the wider community.
  3. Cemeteries and burial grounds
    1. Development proposals for new cemeteries and burial grounds that comply with other relevant policies will be permitted where they:
      1. Are subject to a prior groundwater protection risk assessment in accordance with Environment Agency Guidance: Cemeteries and burials: groundwater risk assessments[44] (or successor document or advice);
      2. Are appropriately sited in a sustainable location;
      3. Are designed to make the most of opportunities to improve and/or create new biodiversity, habitats, and green infrastructure; and
      4. Will have no adverse impact on controlled waters including groundwater and surface water.

Reasoned Justification

The provision of public open space, sports fields, play space, and allotments is essential in promoting active living and providing important physical, mental, and social health and wellbeing benefits for the community. The Authority therefore considers it important to retain open spaces, including children’s play space and sports facilities, which are valued by local communities and/or add to the local character, unless a suitable alternative can be provided, and to create new open spaces within or close to housing developments that are safe and accessible for all members of the community. This policy sets criteria for assessing proposals relating to these land uses.

Because each of the Authority’s constituent councils assesses its entire area - including that part which is the Broads - in relation to the need for these uses, it is appropriate and reasonable to have regard to their approach, which may reflect standards in their Local Plans and other documents. Please contact the Broads Authority for advice regarding where to find the Local Plan policies of our districts.

Some of the Authority’s constituent councils have adopted the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and play, allotments, and open space are part of the charging schedule. There is no CIL charged by the Broads Authority and it therefore relies on S106 agreements to provide these.

Where any loss of open space, play, and allotments is relocated, it is important that it still meets the needs of the existing community and the new development, unless it is clearly demonstrated that the existing open space in question is surplus to requirements.

Cemeteries and burial grounds are a much valued and sensitive type of green infrastructure asset. All proposals for new cemeteries and burial grounds should be in a sustainable location with good links to suitable access networks. The development proposals should have due regard to the character of the surrounding areas, especially to the special qualities, and retain any existing landscape features such as hedges and trees. Any opportunities to improve or create new biodiversity, habitat, and green infrastructure should also be taken. It will be necessary to demonstrate that the proposed cemetery will not have an adverse impact on ground or surface water.

The maps in the Open Space Map Bundle show areas of open space assessed by our constituent district councils. While they assessed their entire district, including that part which is the Broads, they only allocated open space in their Local Planning Authority area. Working with its districts, the Authority has, at the time of writing this Plan, allocated the open space within these assessments that falls within its Executive Area. Many of our districts intend to update their assessments as part of their Local Plan production, and we will defer to the most up-to-date open space assessment.

Current open space allocations that are rolled forward into this Local Plan can be found here: OPEN_SPACES_CURRENT_PROPOSALS.pdf

New open space allocations for this Local Plan can be found here: OPEN_SPACES_NEW_PROPOSALS.pdf

Specific Question 1: Do you have any comments on the proposed new open space allocations?

The following policy, PODM10 relates to Green Infrastructure and may be of relevance to proposals. So too will policy PODM14 on the Natural Environment and policy PODM27 on Dark Skies.

Delivering the policy

  1. The Authority will liaise with the relevant constituent council regarding ongoing management of the space. Some Districts may not adopt and maintain open space and the developer may need to address the maintenance responsibility.
  2. Any assessments required in relation to open space provision must look at the entire catchment of a facility (as facilities such as playing fields often serve users beyond the immediate settlement they are located in), including that part of the settlement outside of the Broads.
  3. The design of any open space and its integration into a proposed scheme, streetscape and landscape is an important consideration. Larger facilities have the potential to adversely affect the local landscape character through a change in land use and landscape patterns, through the introduction of more urban features and additional clutter. Design standards and experience of the relevant council will be applied.
  4. In terms of designing or improving open space, the following criteria are important and so too may this guide Making the Most of Green Space for People’s Health | Beyond Greenspace:
    1. Integrate an appropriate range of public spaces, including green spaces, into development proposals.
    2. Design public spaces to be well overlooked, have a clear purpose and be in an accessible location within the development.
    3. Ensure public spaces include natural features, contribute to on-site biodiversity and minimise surface water run-off through us of SuDS.
    4. Consider the needs of all users, including physically disabled people, people with visual impairments, and neurodiverse people, in the design of public spaces.
    5. Cater for a wide range of activities in public spaces, including meeting, resting, playing, holding events, sport and recreation, and be multifunctional where possible.

Reasonable alternative options

The original policy, with no amendments.

Given the importance of open spaces in the Broads for the health and landscape and townscape benefits, not to have a policy is seen as an unreasonable alternative.

Sustainability appraisal summary

The following is a summary of the assessment of the policy and alternative(s).

A: Keep original policy: 4 positives. 0 negatives. 0 ? Overall, positive.

B: Preferred Option - amend policy: 5 positives. 0 negatives. 0 ? Overall, positive.

How has the existing policy been used since adoption in May 2019?

According to recent Annual Monitoring Reports, the policy has been used and applications have been determined in accordance with the policy.

Why have the alternative options been discounted?

The amendments to the original policy fundamentally reinforce the importance of open spaces and associated issues to consider like how they can be improved for biodiversity and the impact of lighting. These amendments will help the open spaces contribute to the natural environment and ensure the health and wellbeing of the community.