Open Spaces Supplementary Planning Document

Chapter 3 Definitions and Recommendations

Green and Open Space definitions and recommendations


3.1 The suite of green infrastructure assets, as defined by the Green Space Strategy, is divided into three overarching categories of 'formal', 'informal' and 'functional', as follows:

  • Formal - urban parks, country and regional parks, formal and private gardens, institutional grounds (for example schools and hospitals), outdoor sports facilities and civic squares and spaces.
  • Informal - recreation spaces and playing fields, play areas, village greens, urban commons, incidental green space, natural and semi-natural spaces including woodlands, hedgerows, scrub, meadows, wetlands, open and running water, and bare rock habitats, rivers and canals including their banks, road and rail corridors and verges, cycling routes and rights of way, national and local nature reserves and locally designated sites for nature conservation and historic landscapes, archaeological and historic sites.
  • Functional - allotments, community gardens, city farms, orchards, roof gardens, urban edge farmland, cemeteries and churchyards, sustainable urban drainage schemes and flood storage areas.

3.2 When the Green Space strategy was being developed, an assessment of the quantity, and accessibility of green space in Coventry was carried out.

3.3 A green space typology as set out in the table below has been used to classify all types of green space according to their primary purpose. The Green Space Strategy 2019-2023 recognises that green spaces are multi-functional but a single classification according to the primary purpose has been used to ensure consistency and that spaces are only recorded once, otherwise they could be double counted. The Green Space typology is set out in the table below.

Table 1: Green Space Typology

Level 1 Typology

Primary Purpose

Coventry Local Plan Designation

Parks and gardens

Includes urban parks, formal gardens and ornamental areas offering accessible, high quality opportunities for informal recreation and community events.


Outdoor sports facilities

Natural and artificial surfaces for sport and recreation offering opportunities for participation in outdoor sports, pitch sports, tennis, bowls, athletics or countryside and water sports. Includes school playing fields and golf courses.


Provision for Children and Young People

Areas designed primarily for play and social interaction involving children and young people, such as equipped play areas, ball courts, skateboard areas and teenage shelters. Play spaces often form part of a larger spaces, such as parks and gardens, which may be used to designate the primary purpose. All play spaces have also been recorded on a separate mapping layer.


Natural and semi-natural green spaces

Includes country parks, publicly accessible woodlands, urban forestry, grasslands, commons and wetlands for wildlife conservation, bio-diversity and environmental education and awareness.


Green Corridors

Linear routes such as river banks and corridors, towpaths, cycle routes and other connected routes for walking, cycling or horse riding, whether for leisure purposes or travel, and opportunities for wildlife migration.


Amenity green space

Informal green space often found in housing areas or adjacent to highways providing opportunities for informal activities close to home or work or enhancement of the appearance of residential or other areas.


Community Gardens and Allotments

Designated areas offering opportunities for those people who wish to do so to grow their own produce as part of the long term promotion of sustainability, health and social inclusion. Excludes private gardens.


Cemeteries and Churchyards

Cemeteries, churchyards and crematoria grounds providing quiet contemplation and burial of the dead, often linked to the promotion of wildlife conservation and biodiversity. Also includes closed burial grounds used for informal recreation.


Green space hierarchy

3.4 All green spaces have also been classified according to their significance in a hierarchy. The hierarchy is applied across all green space types.

Table 2: Green Space Hierarchy

Hierarchy level



The most significant green spaces acting as destination spaces and attracting visitors from across the city. War Memorial Park and Coombe Country Park are the two city wide green spaces.


Those sites whose significance should attract people from up to 1200 metres. Usually large sites with a range of facilities or designated importance for history or nature conservation.


Those sites which perform a function that serves a more immediate community. Unlikely to attract people from across the city but may draw people form up to 800 metres.


Those sites which serve just the local area, up to 400m - typically areas of amenity green space.


3.5 Open space should:

  • be an integral part of the development and should usually form a central feature;
  • incorporate significant existing landscape features wherever possible, including mature trees and watercourses even if these are not located centrally;
  • be designed and located to reduce opportunities for crime, for instance, houses should not back onto open space;
  • be designed to avoid risk of noise, disturbance and nuisance.

3.6 In particular, equipped play areas should:

  • be sited at least 30 metres from the centre point of the building of the nearest residential property, although some child and youth facilities will require greater separation distances from the nearest residential properties of more than 30 meters;
  • not be located in peripheral areas of the site or where access would be by narrow alleyways;
  • be sited such that there is a clear delineation between highway and pedestrian areas and which allow safe and easy pedestrian access;
  • avoid awkwardly shaped and leftover areas of land which should not form part of the open space provision for the site.

3.7 Such areas of land are usually best planted and incorporated into gardens; and be linked by green corridors to allow people and wildlife to move between areas.

3.8 As set out by the Fields In Trust, the recommended distance of a playground from a residential property should be a minimum of: 400 meters for Locally Equipped Areas of Play (LEAPS) and 1000 meters for Neighbourhood Equipped Areas of Play (NEAPS)[1] . Indicative costs for the provision of LEAPS and NEAPS are provided in Appendix 4. Measurements should be based on safe and convenient walking routes.

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