Assessment of Current and Future Requirements
51. The Act states at section 3G (3)(b) that an open space strategy must contain an assessment of current and future requirements.
52. We think this assessment is an opportunity for planning authorities to consider how well the open space resource in their area helps contribute to the outcomes (in terms of access to open space, place, health and wellbeing, equalities, biodiversity and climate change) and what future changes and requirements might be needed to help deliver on the outcomes. Therefore draft Regulation 5(2) sets out that in assessing current and future requirements, the planning authority is to have regard to how green infrastructure, green networks and open spaces are contributing to the outcomes listed in draft Regulation 3(2).
53. The data and evidence considered as part of the EQIA process, reveals that in considering current and future requirements it is vital that the needs of people from different groups and protected characteristics are taken into account. This provision links to the outcomes including that on advancing equality and eliminating discrimination.
54. Draft Regulation 5(2) also requires that in considering requirements these are considered in respect of each locality and the overall area. Planning authorities should consider how well the open space resource, and provision of different types of space, across their area meets the needs of the community. We also believe that considering requirements on a locality basis, could help in meaningfully identifying local needs and for those needs to be reflected in policies and proposals developed to include in the Open Space Strategy, and in terms of delivery.
55. The assessment of current and future requirements should be informed by engagement. Draft Regulation 5(3) requires planning authorities to seek the views of, and have regard to any views expressed by, those persons contained in draft Regulation 4(8) i.e. those consulted on the audit (see paras 47-49). In practice we would expect these engagement exercises to be done together.
56. The draft Regulations do not prescribe the form this engagement should take, but Ministers expect open engagement, using a range of tools and techniques will be valuable in seeking community views to inform the assessments of current and future needs, and help authorities fulfil their duties around equalities and children's rights.
57. Planning authorities may wish to consider the following aspects when undertaking the assessment of requirements:
- future requirements (demographics, areas of change / growth areas and their open space needs);
- needs for a variety of types of open space and green network connections;
- needs of different interest groups eg, sporting groups/ clubs/ trainers, dog owners, community growing groups and societies;
- needs of different ages, eg toddlers, children, young people, older people;
- needs and requirements of different characteristics e.g. people with disabilities, ethnic and minority groups, different genders and sexual orientations;
- any relevant legal requirements, for example their statutory duty, under the Community Empowerment Act to provide allotments where there is proven demand, and to consider whether there may be need for more allotments to meet future demands;
- maintenance requirements of different types of space; and
- requirements for green infrastructure to support climate change adaptation and mitigation.
58. We are exploring how map based online engagement tools could help planning authorities to engage with their communities to identify the current and future requirements in relation to open space, green networks and green infrastructure in their neighbourhoods and places.
Consultation Question 7
Do you agree with the Assessment of Current and Future Requirements should,
a) have regard to how open spaces and green networks in their area are contributing to the outcomes ? Yes/No/No View/ Any Comments
b) be informed by engagement with the groups set out?
Yes/No/No View/ Any Comments
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