This consultation is about proposing a new assessment system as the previous Protected Urban Open Space (PUOS) has been a local designation since 2001 but we have had a number of occasions where planning applications to develop sites have been lost at appeal so it is not always capable of protecting these spaces.
The National Planning Policy Framework has since been published and it provides policy on all open spaces, whether formally designated or not, plus an additional protection through the power of local plans to designate some land as Local Green Space (LGS). As we go through the process of producing a new Local Plan for the borough, we are required to review our evidence and ensure our designations are fit for purpose and up to date in order to achieve the local and national policy aims for which they were devised. It is therefore important that we review the PUOS designation and how well its policy protection for green spaces is performing.
The Council, during its Issues and Options Consultation for a new Local Plan last summer, suggested removing the designation in favour of the national policy approach and the responses we received have led us to pursue this route. The first step is to prepare a methodology for considering which spaces could be designated as LGS and this is what we have been consulting the public on until 4 June 2019. National policy sets out that LGS should be designated where communities identify and wish to protect green areas of particular importance to them, which is how the methodology has been set out, rather than a blanket approach which could 'de-value' the importance of the designation. However, the national policy on all open space will apply to any areas that are not designated as LGS so they will still benefit from protection.
We will consider the many comments we have received on the LGS Assessment Methodology and there will be further opportunities for the public to have their say on this and all aspects of the new Local Plan when we hold our next consultation in Autumn 2019.
Further information regarding this consultation can be found on our website.
Issued: 4 June 2019