Open Spaces Assessment & Strategy: Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Boroughs

This substantial joint commission covered two adjacent local authorities. The study and the underpinning audit findings were an important contribution to the production of both councils’ local plans and an integral part of identifying and regulating their open space infrastructure.

The open space assessment reports provided detail with regard to provision across the area, its condition, distribution and overall quality. It also analysed demand based upon population distribution, planned growth and consultation findings.

This work was particularly important in that it forms part of a joint core strategy based upon the need to develop 20,000 new homes across the combined area, plus a further 15,000 in Gloucester. In addition to the preparation and justification of open spaces standards, the work incorporated undertaking specific work linked to the green spaces and recreational provision and the social sustainability needs of major new settlements including one comprising 10,000-plus dwellings on the shared border of the two authorities.

Informed by extensive local research, site assessments and consultation with a wide range of key agencies, parish councils and community representatives, the assessment report, which was the basis for the strategy, incorporated exhaustive data analysis and GIS mapping.

In addition to producing evidence to inform the two local plans and linked supplementary planning documents, KKP produced a specific toolkit for the two authorities setting out exactly how best to utilise, interpret and translate the information provided to set local standards and inform Section 106 and CIL-based developer contributions. This is providing a basis for securing open space facilities through new housing development and informing negotiation with developers for contributions towards provision of appropriate open space facilities and their long-term maintenance.

This is just one of some 40 open spaces assessments/strategies produced by KKP over the last few years, clients for which range from London boroughs (including Camden and Richmond-on-Thames) and core cities (including Liverpool) to highly rural districts, such as East Northamptonshire, and authorities that sit within England’s national park authorities.

Contact: christopher.macfarlane@kkp.co.uk