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We have called on the government to clarify the opportunities to win Local Green Space (LGS), and once again urged local authorities and communities to make use of the designation. The society has responded to a consultation from the Department for Communities and Local Government on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework of March 2012, in which LGS is first mentioned.
We are concerned that the criteria for designating land as LGS are vague and that there is no prescribed process for this, nor is there any requirement for a local authority to consider creating public access, or ensuring the land is managed properly. The protection afforded to LGS is also unclear, and only stated to be similar to that of the green belt—which the government proposes to relax.
LGS can be designated as part of the neighbourhood and local plan processes.
Says Nicola Hodgson, our case officer: ‘With so little guidance and vague criteria it is not surprising that few planning authorities are designating land as LGS. We have produced a toolkit to encourage use of the LGS opportunity and we are pleased that Aspley Guise in Central Bedfordshire, Exeter in Devon and Freshford and Limpley Stoke in Wiltshire are among those communities who have designated LGS.
‘The government introduced LGS to compensate for its malicious restriction on the registration of land as village greens in the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013, but LGS is proving a poor substitute. Even when a submission has been made to the planning authority for an LGS there is nothing to stop the authority from determining a planning application for the site, which completely undermines the LGS process.
‘The review of the NPPF gives the government an ideal opportunity to beef up and clarify the LGS designation to be of real benefit to communities, and we trust it will do so,’ Nicola concludes.