Open spaces assessment and strategy: the role of open space in planning new development

Chris MacFarlane explains how KKP has helped two local authorities assess the role of open space in the planning of new residential developments.


The open space assessment and strategy undertaken by KKP on behalf of the boroughs of Cheltenham and Tewkesbury was a large-scale project that recognised and demonstrated the importance of green space and recreational provision in the planning of major residential developments.

This project was a substantial joint commission on behalf of two adjacent local authorities and the study, along with the underpinning audit findings, were an important element of both councils’ local plans. The project was also an integral part of identifying and regulating their open space infrastructure.

The context of this open space assessment and strategy was a joint core strategy based upon the need to develop 20,000-plus new homes across the area, plus further homes in Gloucester. In addition to the preparation and justification of open spaces standards, the project incorporated specific work linked to the green spaces and recreational provision, as well as the social sustainability needs of major new settlements, including one comprising 5,000-plus dwellings on the border of the two authorities.

The assessment reports used information gathered from extensive local research, site assessments and consultation with a wide range of key agencies, parish councils and community representatives. Combined with exhaustive data analysis and GIS mapping, the reports provided analysis of demand based upon population distribution, planned growth and consultation findings to provide detail of provision across the area, its condition, distribution and overall quality.

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 the provision of appropriate open space facilities and their long-term maintenance.

The Cheltenham and Tewkesbury project is just one of some 30 open spaces assessments and strategies produced by KKP over the last few years on behalf of clients ranging from London boroughs (including Wandsworth and Richmond-on-Thames), core cities (such as Liverpool) to highly rural districts (including Copeland) and authorities within or incorporating parts of England’s national parks.


Chris MacFarlane is a principal consultant with KKP.


Contact Chris at christopher.macfarlane@kkp.co.uk

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