Open Spaces Supplementary Planning Document

Chapter 2 Policy Context

National Policy

2.1 Paragraph 93 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF 2021) states:

"To provide the social, recreational and cultural facilities and services the community needs, planning policies and decisions should:

Plan positively for the provision and use of shared spaces, community facilities (such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, open space, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship) and other local services to enhance the sustainability of communities and residential environments."

2.2 Paragraph 98[1] of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2021 and Planning Practice Guidance on Open space, Sports and Recreation Facilities, Public Rights of Way and Local Green Space 2014 stress the need to ensure effective planning for high quality open spaces, sport and recreation facilities based on robust assessments of the existing and future needs of communities.

2.3 The NPPF advises that the assessments should include the following information:

  • quantitative elements (how much new provision may be needed);
  • a qualitative component (against which to measure the need for enhancement of existing facilities); and
  • accessibility (including distance thresholds and consideration of the cost of using a facility).

2.4 The city council has undertaken an open space audit in accordance with Government guidance (Green Space Strategy 2019) and will apply the local standards derived from this study through this SPD.

2.5 The NPPF states that access to high quality open spaces and opportunities for sport and recreation can make an important contribution to the health and well-being of communities. It requires planning policies that promote opportunities to improve the local open space network and create high quality public open spaces within new development, which encourages the active and continual use of public areas.

2.6 The Government attaches great importance to the protection of Green Belts and strategic networks of green spaces, commonly referred to as green infrastructure, which can provide a wide range of environmental benefits. The NPPF states that Local Authorities should create policies that enable the creation, protection, enhancement and management of networks of biodiversity and green infrastructure. It also requires Local Authorities to recognise the wider benefits of ecosystem services and minimise negative impacts on biodiversity.

2.7 The NPPF has also created the ability for local communities, through neighbourhood plans, to identify and protect green areas of particular importance. These areas will be known as Local Green Spaces and will be protected in the same way as the green corridors, although specific criteria must be met for this to apply.

Local Policy

2.8 The Coventry Local Plan was adopted in 2017. It includes a suite of policies which provide a framework to ensure that new development delivers open space to meet future needs and forms the context for the development of this SPD. The relevant policies listed below can be found in Appendix 1.

  • GE1: Green Infrastructure
  • GE2: Green Space
  • GE3: Biodiversity, Geological, Landscape and Archaeological Conservation
  • GE4: Tree Protection
  • GB1: Green Belt and Local Green Space
  • DS4: General Masterplan Principles
  • EM4: Flood Risk Management
  • H9: Residential Density
  • DE1: Ensuring High Quality Design

Relevant Council Policies and Strategies

2.9 Regard should be had for the following documents or any subsequent updates or replacements. They form part of the wider evidence base for this document and therefore are considered material planning considerations when assessing proposals.

Green Space Strategy 2019-2024:

  • Recognises and promotes the multi-functional nature of green spaces and aims to ensure that green spaces are well managed, maintained and accessible to all.

Urban Forestry Strategy 2021-2031:

  • Ensures our historical character of the Forest of Arden is maintained and enhanced for the long term. Enabling an understanding by all, of how the urban forest will be planned, managed and protected for the future.

Playing Pitch Strategy 2014-2019

  • The Coventry Playing Pitch Strategy seeks to provide guidance for planning decisions made across Coventry. By addressing the issues identified in the Assessment Report and using the strategic framework presented in the Strategy, the current and future sporting and recreational needs of Coventry can be satisfied. The Strategy will identify where there is a deficiency in provision and how best to resolve this in the future.

The following are formal Supplementary Planning Documents

Trees and Development Guidelines Supplementary Planning Document 2019:

  • This formal planning document provides a comprehensive guide to the preservation and protection of trees during development in Coventry, leading to an improved approach to the retention and planting of trees.

Urban Extension Design Guidance Supplementary Planning Document 2019:

  • This formal planning document provides a clear guide and steer for how new larger developments within the area should be designed and delivered. It helps inform the master planning process and detailed design proposals.
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