Recreation Spaces: Local Plans

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered at on 28 September 2022.

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Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden Conservative, Hertsmere

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps the Government will take to ensure local authorities can put in place Local Plans which ensure the protection of local green spaces.

Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Local planning authorities must prepare a local plan as the primary basis for identifying what development is needed in an area, deciding where it should go and dealing with planning applications. Local Plans provide greater certainty for communities, businesses, and developers, enabling local areas to set out their strategy for future development and their approach to protecting and enhancing local character, as well as securing community buy in.

The National Planning Policy Framework acknowledges the importance that open and green space makes to achieving sustainable development. The Framework is clear that local planning authorities through their local plan, and local communities through their neighbourhood plan, can identify and protect green areas of particular importance to them by formally designating them as Local Green Space. This is then classed as a protected area by the Framework and policies for managing development within a Local Green Space should be consistent with those for Green Belts.

Whether to designate land as Local Green Space is a matter of local discretion. The space should be demonstrably special to the local community and hold a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value tranquillity or richness of its wildlife. This could be in rural or urban settings and can include space created as part of new development.

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