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Bath & North East Somerset Green Space Strategy

Published: 2020-07-14 Updated: 2021-05-18 Subject:

2015 – 2029


1.0 Introduction

The aims of this study are to provide a robust assessment of needs and deficiencies in open spaces in order to inform policies within the B&NES Placemaking Plan, establish local provision standards and create an up to date evidence base which can be maintained to aid implementation of the policies and the provision of open spaces during the plan period.

The study has been carried out in-line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (Para 73 and 74) and informed by the former guidance provided in ‘Planning Policy Guidance Note 17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation’, and its Companion Guide ‘Assessing Needs and Opportunities’, which is a tried and tested methodology and takes a consistent approach with many other local authorities. This report is part 1 of the Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) Green Space Strategy which is presented in two parts:

  • Part 1: Main Report
  • Part 2: Area Profiles

2.0 Methodology

The study has been informed by the PPG17 guidance highlighted above and has followed the following six key stages:

  • Step 1: Strategic Overview
  • Step 2: Identify local needs
  • Step 3: Audit local provision
  • Step 4: Set provision standards
  • Step 5: Apply the provision standards
  • Step 6: Draft policies / recommendations

3.0 Strategic Overview

This section includes a review of the most relevant national and local policies related to the study, which have been considered in developing the methodology and findings of the study.

4.0 Local Needs Assessment

The report has examined local need for a wide range of different kinds of recreational open space. It has drawn upon a range of survey and analytical techniques including a review of consultation findings from relevant play, sports, leisure and open space studies. Questionnaire surveys were undertaken as below:

  • A general household survey
  • A children and young people's survey.

Council Officers also provided a range of consultation and research data that had been completed prior to this study, most importantly:

  • "Voicebox" household surveys
  • Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) data
  • Relevant Strategy Documents
  • Parish Council consultation

The results of the primary research and consultation review has informed the content of the recommended local standards. The findings also helped the study to understand stakeholder and local people’s appreciation of open space, outdoor recreation facilities, and the wider green infrastructure; and the values attached by the community to the various forms of open spaces and facilities.

5.0 Audit of Local Provision

The audit of local provision has included a comprehensive mapping and audit process to collate data on the current provision and quality of open space across Bath and North East Somerset. Over 2,000 open spaces have been mapped onto a GIS system, and broken down into individual open space typologies. In addition to this 500 site audits were undertaken at key sites across Bath and North East Somerset.

6.0 Proposed standards of provision

The information from the assessment of local needs and the audit of provision has been used to develop standards of provision for open space, sports and recreation facilities. The standards have three aspects – Quantity, Access and Quality – and they are summarised below:

6.1 Proposed open space standards (quantity and access)

The proposed standards for open space
Typology Quality standards (ha/1000 population) Access standard
Allotments 0.3 960 metres or 20 minutes’ walk time
Amenity green space 0.3 600 metres or 12-13 minutes’ walk time
Parks and Recreation
1.3 600 metres or 12-13 minutes’ walk time
Play Space (Children) 0.05 480 metres or 10 minutes’
walk time
Play Space (Youth) 0.03 600 metres or 12-13 minutes’ walk time
Natural Green Space 1.30 to include natural and amenity green space for new provision ANGSt and Woodland Trust for analysing existing provision
Community Growing
None, but sites mapped None
Historic Parks and
None, but sites mapped None
Churchyards and
None, but sites mapped and
quantity analysed
Education None, but sites mapped and
quantity analysed

6.2 Open space standards (quality)

All open space has been assessed against quality standards outlined in the PPG17 guidance and ‘Green Flag’ standards. A comprehensive database of the quality scores of all sites has been developed and used to identify priorities for improving the quality of open space across B&NES.

7.0 Application of the standards

The standards outlined above have been used to identify existing deficiencies or surplus in the quantity, access and quality of facilities across B&NES. Detailed maps and analysis are provided within part 2 (Area Profiles) of this document. The following summarises the key findings made across B&NES:

  • There is insufficient supply of youth play space across all area profiles;
  • There is insufficient supply of parks and recreation grounds across all area profiles with the exception of Bathavon, which is the area with sufficient supply of most open space typologies (with the exception of youth and children’s play space);
  • All area profiles have a deficiency in at least two open space typologies.

8.0 Policies and recommendations

The policies and recommendations that are made in the study identify where new provision is required and where provision needs to be enhanced, protected or relocated. The following identifies the key findings for open space:

  • New provision. Open space should be provided as part of new development in line with the B&NES standard. Where it is not practical to provide open space on site, there should be new provision off site or enhancement to existing facilities.B&NES Green Space Strategy 7
  • Enhanced provision. Key sites for improvement have been identified through the study, and opportunities to improve sites through development and external funding need to be sought.
  • Protected provision. Public open space should be afforded protection through planning policy. There is little opportunity for disposing of open space, unless there is a greater community need and/or alternative provision can be provided.
  • Relocated provision. With significant variation in supply across B&NES, neighbourhood plans need to consider addressing the ‘balance’ between different types of open space.

9.0 Aims and objectives for Green space from 2015-2029

Based on the findings of this study and in recognition of the council’s commitment to delivering other strategies and policies relating to green spaces, the following set of objectives has been developed to guide the development and management of our green asset until 2029:

Bath and North East Somerset’s green spaces will:

  • Be managed sustainably
  • Deliver spaces which help support fit and healthy communities
  • Encourage communities to explore their green infrastructure through a connected green grid
  • Support communities to connect with their green spaces
  • Enhance the unique and beautiful landscape of the district
  • Reveal and celebrate the unique local heritage
  • Help mitigate the impacts of climate change and pollution
  • Showcase excellence

These objectives will inform the service plans for the Parks and Green spaces team, will help support opportunities for partnership working and will provide a sound focus for future investment.

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