2.54 Green infrastructure is a network of multi-functional green space, urban and rural, which is capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for local communities. The Spatial Vision in the Core Strategy highlights ‘valued green infrastructure network’ and Strategic Objective SO2 sets out ‘Protect and enhance the District’s natural, built and cultural assets and provide green infrastructure.’ Several policies throughout the Plan reference the importance and delivery of GI.
2.55 The creation, maintenance and enhancement of a local GI network, coupled with encouraging people to use it, can provide multiple wins, by improving environmental sustainability, improving health, and improving health equity. Many of the benefits to health will also help to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Policy NE1 seeks to ensure that new development makes provision for well-designed GI and makes a positive contribution to the GI network. The health and sustainability benefits of GI in both providing and linking to active travel routes for walking and cycling should be facilitated through the policy. This accords with the approach set out in guidance including that from Public Health England: Improving access to greenspace. A new review for 2020.
2.56 The Council has a central role in the provision, delivery and planning of GI through its role as local planning authority and direct provider of significant areas of open spaces. It will also work in partnership with key public and private bodies, local communities and the voluntary sector to protect and enhance the GI network and ensure a strategic approach is taken. Key GI projects such as the Bath River Line project will support climate and ecological emergency objectives. It is proposed to designate the Bath River Line project area through the partial update. The designation of other key strategic GI projects, including those referenced in the West of England Joint Green Infrastructure Strategy, will be considered through the full Local Plan review.
Consultation Reference DM 12
Amendments to Policy CP7
Green Infrastructure policy to include a designation as relates to the Bath River Line project. Work has been progressing on the Bath River Line: the project is to create a high quality, continuous 10km walking and cycling connection from Newbridge to Batheaston/Bathampton and to improve and better connect the green spaces along the route and manage it as one. The purpose of the designation would be to protect/safeguard the area from built development; to ensure opportunities are taken within development proposals coming forward in the area to plan for green infrastructure and connectivity; and to help identify & facilitate opportunities for the wider network (of GI corridors, footpath/cycle paths etc) to connect into it.
Also amend the policy to emphasise the benefits of green spaces for health and well-being.
Consultation Reference DM 13
Amendments to Policy NE1
It is proposed to amend Policy NE1 to ensure that new development in making a positive contribution to the GI network ensures that links are made with active travel routes to help improve accessibility and to require that major development proposals are accompanied by a proposed network of GI that can be used for walking and cycling and other forms of formal or informal physical activity.