Freshwater, Isle of Wight, sets fine example in protecting green space

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Golden Hill Country Park

We have congratulated Freshwater Parish Council for designating land as Local Green Space (LGS) in its neighbourhood plan.

Freshwater, on the western side of the Isle of Wight, is a largely rural parish. The parish council has identified and designated 15 LGSs* which meet the government’s criteria. The council created a checklist against which to test the potential LGSs. They must not have an extant planning permission, nor be allocated for development in the local plan, they must not be extensive but must be local in character, close to the communities they serve and demonstrably special to that community.

Once designated in the plan, the land is safe from development except in special circumstances.

There was a parish referendum on 8 March, in which the question was asked: ‘Do you want Isle of Wight Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Freshwater Parish to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?’ The turnout was 16.23 per cent, and the results were: yes 707 (90.11 per cent) and no 65 (8.38 per cent). As a result, the Isle of Wight Council brought the plan into force as part of the county’s development plan on 12 March 2018.

Says Nicola Hodgson, our case officer: ‘We congratulate Freshwater Parish Council for its thorough work in producing the plan and identifying suitable land as Local Green Space. We are delighted that these much loved and enjoyed open spaces are to be protected from development. The council has set an excellent example to parish councils throughout England and we shall commend its approach to others.’

Adds Parish Councillor Anne Bamford: ‘The Freshwater Neighbourhood Plan recognises the importance of the natural environment and has policies which seek to protect, conserve and, where possible, enhance these assets.’

* The 15 Local Green Spaces are: Pound Green, Middleton Green, Spinfish, School Green Road and Black Hut Green, Stroud Field, Jubilee Field, Norton Park area, Fort Victoria Country Park, Golden Hill Country Park, Parkway Green, Edinburgh Road Green, Granny’s Mead, Victoria Road/Guyers Road, Gate Lane verge, Norton Green verge.

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