New local green space of little value to communities
27 March 2012
We have said that the new Local Green Space designation is of little value to communities. The designation is launched in the government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published today (27 March).
The society is concerned that designation as local green space confers no right for the public to use and enjoy such land. And local people will have a limited opportunity to use the new provision, since the space can only be designated when a local or neighbourhood plan is prepared or reviewed.
Says Nicola Hodgson, our case officer: ‘This designation is unlikely to produce many new protected areas because of the severe restrictions placed on its use.’
The NPPF says the designation ‘will not be appropriate for most green areas or open space’. This is contrary to the purpose of protecting areas of particular importance to local communities.
Says Nicola: ‘There is a multitude of restrictions on the land which can be designated. It must be in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves, it must hold a particular local significance, it must be local in character, and it cannot be an extensive tract of land. It is so shackled as to be practically useless.
‘Even if land is designated, it will not be protected. It will receive the same treatment as green belts, where buildings for agriculture and forestry, facilities for outdoor sport, replacement of a building, limited infilling and other development may be allowed. This is deeply worrying.
‘We believe it will be difficult for communities to make use of the Local Green Space designation as there is no explanation of the process.
‘It is a missed opportunity for a government which claims to be “the greenest government ever”,’ she concludes.
Read the society’s response to the draft NPPF here.