Last edited 13 Nov 2015

Local green space

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) created a new designation of ‘Local Green Space’.

Local green space designation allows local communities to protect green spaces of local importance for reasons including setting and nature conservation. Local communities can identify green spaces through their local and neighbourhood plans, which will then receive protection equivalent to green belt land. If an individual wishes to see an area designated as local green space, they should contact the local planning authority.

If planning permission has already been granted for the land, it is not normally possible to designate it as local green space. If the space already has a designation, such as a site of special scientific interest, consideration will be given if an additional designation would add any local benefit.

In order to qualify as a local green space, the green area must meet the criteria set out in paragraph 77 of the National Planning Policy Framework. This states:

'The Local Green Space designation will not be appropriate for most green areas or open space. The designation should only be used:

  • where the green space is in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves;
  • where the green area is demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value (including as a playing field), tranquillity or richness of its wildlife;
  • and where the green area concerned is local in character and is not an extensive tract of land.'

There is no set distance for how close the green space needs to be to the local community, or the minimum size, which will depend on local circumstances.

The management responsibilities for the Local Green Space are with the landowner and no specific restrictions or obligations are placed on the landowner with the designation.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) propose that designating open green space is an alternative to registering town and village greens as means of protecting land. They suggest that applications to register greens were sometimes made solely to frustrate developments that had already received planning permission, stating “loopholes in the system have increasingly been abused by people looking to stop local development… As well as having a negative effect on the rural economy and reducing the value of land – often by over 90 per cent – this reduces the availability of rural homes, facilities and hospitals across the country,” (Ref DEFRA). As consequence measures have been introduced to limit registration of greens.

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