Waveney Local Plan

Protection of Open Space

222 Normanston Park8.116 Protecting and promoting the improvement of existing open spaces is important for the well-being of local communities. Quality open spaces which are easily accessible and support uses for a wide cross-section of the community are essential to support the physical and mental health of the population. Open spaces also help support biodiversity, the aesthetic quality of the public realm and built environment and mitigate flood risk.

8.117 The National Planning Policy Framework places strong emphasis on the need to protect existing open spaces and other community facilities. The Waveney Open Space Needs Assessment (2015) identifies existing open space provision and its condition and the Waveney Playing Pitch and Outdoors Sports Facilities Assessment (2014) assessed the need for outdoor sports facilities to support people living in the District. These assessments highlight existing issues and the types of open space shortfalls which exist in different locations. The Waveney Green Infrastructure Strategy (2015) sets out a comprehensive approach to delivering open space and improving the green infrastructure network by improving connectivity and the provision of the right types of open space in the right locations.

8.118 Open spaces are shown on the Policies Map. Policy WLP8.23 protects open space identified on the Policies Map from development, unless the development is ancillary to the open space, it is surplus to requirements, or will be replaced by equivalent or better provision.

8.119 To demonstrate whether an open space proposed for development is surplus to requirements, applicants are expected to undertake an open space needs assessment. This should follow the approach taken in the Waveney Open Space Needs Assessment and consider the provision of open space with the same use within the site catchment area, alternative open space uses and how the site relates to existing provision for each respective type of open space use in the locality. The contribution an open space makes towards local amenity, public realm, biodiversity and the wider green infrastructure network should be considered as part of an open space needs assessment.

8.120 The Framework allows local communities through Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans to identify green areas of particular importance to them for special protection. By designating land as Local Green Space local communities are able to rule out new development other than in very special circumstances. This is a stronger test than the requirements of Policy WLP8.23. The Council does not have enough evidence to designate Local Green Spaces across the District in the Local Plan but will encourage Parish and Town Councils to consider designating green areas which are demonstrably important to them as Local Green Spaces in Neighbourhood Plans. 

Policy WLP8.23 - Protection of Open Space

There will be a presumption against any development that involves the loss of open space or community sport and recreation facilities.

Open spaces are identified on the Policies Map.

Proposals for the development of open spaces will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances where:

  • The proposal is ancillary to the open nature of the area and will enhance local character, increase local amenity and be of greater community or wildlife benefit;
  • An open space assessment demonstrates the site is surplus to requirements including its ability to be used for alternative open space uses; or
  • The loss resulting from the proposed development will be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity, quality and in a location that is equally or more accessible to the community.