Local Plan consultations
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2.1 The findings of the Open Space and Recreation Assessment and this Strategy form part of the local evidence base for the review of the Cambridge Local Plan 2006. Appendix 1 of this document considers the wider national, regional and local policies, guidance and strategies that have been considered in drawing up this Strategy. It should be noted that the list contained in Appendix 1 is not intended to be exhaustive, as other policies and documents may also be relevant dependent on the nature of forthcoming development proposals and/or on emerging policy documents.
2.3 This guidance note recognises the importance of open spaces, sport and recreation provision and the contribution that they make to the quality of life. It states that Local Planning Authorities should develop clear policies for the provision, protection and enhancement of such provision and include policies requiring recreational facilities to be provided as an integral part of major new developments. PPG17 includes a requirement for local authorities to undertake assessments of the existing and future needs of their communities for open space, sports and recreational facilities. Assessments will normally be undertaken at district level, although assessments of strategic facilities should be undertaken at regional or sub-regional levels. Open Space Standards should be set locally and based on the local assessments of needs and opportunities.
2.4 The companion guide to PPG17 sets out the process for undertaking local assessments of need and audits of provision. It also establishes the following desirable outcomes for an open space assessment:
2.5 This document sets out the strategy to guide planning and development in the East of England to the year 2021. It covers economic development, housing, the environment, transport, waste management, culture, sport and recreation, mineral extraction and implementation. It aims to improve quality of life, and sets out requirements for Local Planning Authorities to require the retention of substantial connected networks of green space in urban, urban fringe and adjacent countryside areas to serve growing communities. Whilst the Government has announced its intention to revoke the Regional Spatial Strategies, this will not take place until the Localism Bill becomes an Act. As such, at this time, the East of England Plan remains a material consideration in decision-making.
2.6 This document sets out the strategic framework for land use planning in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough up to 2016. Under the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act and following the adoption of the East of England Plan: The Revision to the Regional Spatial Strategy for the East of England in May 2008, only certain policies in the Plan remain in force. Those policies of relevance to the strategy include:
These policies will fall away once the Localism Bill becomes an Act.
2.7 Currently, the Cambridge Local Plan 2006 recognises the importance of open spaces and has two key policies, 3/8 and 4/2. Policy 3/8 Open Space and Recreation Provision Through New Development states that:
All residential development will provide public open space and sports facilities in accordance with the Open Space and Recreation Standards. Provision should be on-site as appropriate to the nature and location of development or where the scale of development indicates otherwise through commuted payments to the City Council.
The Open Space and Recreation Standards form Appendix A of the Cambridge Local Plan 2006.
Development will not be permitted which would be harmful to the character of, or lead to the loss of, open space of environmental and/or recreational importance unless the open space uses can be satisfactorily replaced elsewhere and the site is not important for environmental reasons.
2.9 Open space protected under this policy includes commons, recreation grounds, registered and other historic Parks and Gardens, sites with nature conservation designation, outdoor sports facilities, provision for children and teenagers, semi-natural green spaces, allotments, urban spaces and cemeteries. Although the majority are public open spaces, private spaces that contribute to the character, environmental quality or biodiversity of the area are protected. These spaces are often contiguous and have an important linking role as conduits for wildlife and for access by foot and cycle and recreation opportunities. Many have a dual importance, both for the contribution they make to leisure provision and for their environmental importance. Some still retain evidence of significant historic land use patterns.
2.10 Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have jointly prepared the North West Cambridge Area Action Plan (AAP), which seeks to create a new University quarter. The AAP provides for academic and research and development facilities, accommodation for 2,000 students and 3,000 dwellings, half of which will be for University key workers. The AAP contains a range of policies relating to the provision of open space and uses the same Open Space and Recreation Standards as set out in the Cambridge Local Plan 2006.
2.11 Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have jointly prepared the Cambridge East Area Action Plan, which identifies the site for a sustainable new urban quarter of approximately 10,000 to 12,000 dwellings. The AAP contains a range of policies relating to the provision of open space and uses the same Open Space and Recreation Standards as set out in the Cambridge Local Plan 2006.
2.12 The Council’s Planning Obligations Strategy was adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) in March 2010. Planning Obligations are a key way of addressing the impact new development can have on the infrastructure of the City. If all the open space required in a new development under the Open Space and Recreation Standards can not be accommodated on site, developers make financial contributions towards the provision or improvement of open space elsewhere. The Planning Obligation Strategy SPD provides a framework for the negotiation and expenditure of monies secured under Section 106 agreements. The use of the Planning Obligations Strategy SPD for open space and recreation contributions will be replaced by the use of the Community Infrastructure Levy in the coming years.
2.13 The Strategy must work within the context of the Council’s Medium Term Objectives, the County-wide and City Council’s Sustainable Community Strategies and other strategies and guidance. A number of these strategies and guidance documents are discussed below.
2.14 Natural England has developed a standard for natural green space (ANGSt), which it defines as “land, water and geological features which have been naturally colonised by plants and animals and which are accessible on foot to large numbers of residents”. The standard provides a set of benchmarks for ensuring access to places of wildlife interest. These standards recommend that people living in towns and cities should have:
2.15 The first Green Infrastructure Strategy for the Cambridge sub-region was produced in 2006. This provided a strategy for the provision of large-scale Green Infrastructure for the Cambridge Sub-Region over a 20 year period to complement and support the planned growth. In order to update the strategy and provide coverage for the whole of Cambridgeshire, the review of the Green Infrastructure Strategy commenced in May 2009. The draft Green Infrastructure Strategy (2011) has four objectives:
The new strategy has adopted a number of key themes, such as landscape character, health and sustainable movement. The themes and their evidence base were considered both individually and together in order to establish where gaps and opportunities existed at the spatial level. The overlapping themes and factors supported the development of the Strategic Network, creating a multi-functional network which could be brought forward. Cambridge is covered by one Strategic Area, which proposes a number of strategic projects. Many of these projects are existing proposals in the urban extensions. It provides a strategic context for green infrastructure, but recognises that a local level strategy such as the Council’s Draft Open Space and Recreation Strategy is required to protect, enhance and deliver open spaces within the City
2.16 This study, produced by PMP for Cambridgeshire Horizons, evaluates existing facility provision within the sub-region and identifies the increase in demand anticipated through the significant population growth planned between 1999 and 2016.
2.17 This document was approved in January 2010. This creates a strategic framework within the medium term objectives for developing, maintaining and managing parks, commons and open spaces directly owned and/or managed by the City Council.
The Council provides a range of sports services that are used by residents, people living nearby or working in the City, and visitors. This comprises indoor swimming facilities; outdoor swimming pools and paddling pools; indoor sports centres; pitches and courts, and 88 parks and open spaces, providing a wide range of both formal and informal sport, recreation and play provision. The Council also provides a sports development service, which focuses on increasing participation in physical activity and sport; and supporting grassroots and community sport; and improving health and well being, addressing inequality.
2.19 The purpose of the Cambridge Climate Change Strategy & Action Plan is to establish the framework for action in Cambridge to tackle the causes and consequences of climate change. It describes the present situation, rationale, future intentions and actions for Cambridge City Council to take in order to achieve them.
2.20 The Council’s Nature Conservation Strategy 2006 – 2016 was produced by the Wildlife Trust. This document comprises an assessment of the most important areas for wildlife within the City’s boundaries and sets out a strategy and action plan for the preservation and enhancement of wildlife value across Cambridge.
2.22 This assessment indicates areas or features important to the environment and setting of Cambridge in order to ensure that new developments will take account of existing character and where possible achieve environmental or visual improvement.
2.23 This strategy is currently being updated. The 2004 – 2007 strategy aimed to protect important trees throughout the City and increase the numbers of trees on Council land. A Protocol for the consultation and determination of tree work operations to trees on City Council owned land has been produced and relates to trees works scheduled by arboricultural officers. The Council has a crucial role to play in maximising the benefits trees bring to the City, both through exercising its statutory powers and by encouraging and supporting tree management and planting.