Open Space Strategies and Play Sufficiency Assessments Regulations: consultation

This consultation paper discusses proposed provisions and seeks views on both sets of draft regulations on Open Space Strategies and Play Sufficiency Assessments.

Open Space Strategy


59. The Act, section 3G (2) requires Open Space Strategies, to include policies and proposals as to:

  • the development,
  • maintenance, and
  • use

of green infrastructure in the planning authority's district, including open spaces and green networks.

Shared good practice and guidance may offer more ideas and highlight different approaches in developing policies and proposals around these aspects, such as:


  • design and quality aspects
  • retrofitting spaces
  • advance or temporary greening
  • creating enhanced connections/green networks


  • empowering communities to get involved in management and ongoing maintenance of open spaces
  • fitness for purpose
  • planning conditions and obligations
  • role of management plans for key sites


  • multifunctional, and adaptable spaces
  • converting spaces from one types of open space to another eg to provide multiple benefits, or where there is local demand for a particular type of space, which will be used more
  • uses that can support climate change mitigation and adaptation eg renewable technologies within greenspaces eg ground source heat pumps, or to allow for climate change eg flood attenuation
  • design for ease of access and use, particularly for groups such as the elderly, parents with pushchairs and disabled people
  • how good design can help people feel safer using open spaces
  • how use of green networks can encourage walking and cycling and reduce car use, in line with local transport strategies

60. Draft Regulation 3(3) requires Open Space Strategies to include a statement setting out how they are contributing to the outcomes.

61. Draft Regulation 3(4) requires planning authorities to, in the OSS, identify green networks that are wholly or partially within their area, which the planning authority considers to be strategic, by reference to a map. Following on, Draft Regulation 3(5) requires the planning authority to identify how green networks which are wholly or partially in their area may be enhanced.

62. Existing Guidance in the Greenspace Quality Guide indicates Greenspace Strategies should contain an Action Plan and Monitoring Framework. The draft Regulations have not included this as a legal requirement, but we may highlight that type of approach in guidance, as good practice.

Greenspace Strategy

"The Greenspace Strategy will link the findings of the audit to its strategic context and provide a blue print for working in partnership with other authorities, stakeholders and local communities.

Greenspace strategies should…

  • Serve as a statement of political support
  • Set a vision for new and improved space
  • Contribute to the wider objectives of the council (eg education, health, regeneration, biodiversity)
  • Create a policy framework for protecting, enhancing and creating greenspaces
  • Enable involvement by community planning partnerships and communities in greenspace management
  • Address the surpluses and deficiencies in different types of open space
  • Provide the justification for developer contributions
  • Contain an Action Plan and Monitoring Framework".

(Extract from the Greenspace Quality Guide)

Consultation Question 8

Do you agree Open Space Strategies should

a) include a statement setting out how they contribute to the outcomes? Yes/No/No View/ Any Comments

b) identify strategic green networks? Yes/No/No View

c) identify how green networks may be enhanced? Yes/No/No View å

Consultation on draft Open Space Strategy

63. Draft Regulation 6(1) requires planning authorities to publish a draft open space strategy, and draft Regulation 6(3) requires a minimum 12 week consultation. It is hoped this is an appropriate length of time for those who wish to get involved to express their views. This period should help to involve people who may have less available free time to get involved in planning consultations, including outside other caring and parental responsibilities.

64. Draft Regulation 6(2) also requires consultation on the draft strategy with the consultees set out earlier in the Regulations (see paragraphs 47-49 above) i.e. those that have been engaged on the audit and assessment of requirements.

65. Evidence set out in the EQIA shows that there is a clear relationship between age and internet use, with lower usage rates and accessibility among older people and higher use among younger people. This suggests that using internet and social media are a good way of targeting young people but other ways of reaching and engaging older people may be more effective. In response, the draft OSS Regulations contain a provision at Draft Regulation 6(3) requiring planning authorities to publicise the consultation on their draft OSS using adverts in the local press, to help ensure more older people have the opportunity to offer their views on the draft OSS. The requirement is that the planning authority shall advertise in each of two successive weeks, in one or more newspapers circulating in its area, notice of the publication of the OSS along with details of the date by which any representations must be made to the planning authority.

66. Draft Regulation 6(4) requires the planning authority to have regard to any valid representations from anyone consulted under Draft Regulation 6(2).

Consultation Question 9

Do you agree with the proposed consultation requirements on draft Open Space Strategies?

Yes/No/No View/ Any Comments

Publication of Open Space Strategy

67. Draft Regulation 7(2) allows the planning authority to modify the draft OSS, after the closing date for representations, to take account of:

(a) any representations timeously made to them as respects the draft open space strategy (or of any matters arising out of representations so made),

(b) any matters arising in consultation, and

(c) any minor drafting or technical matters.

68. Draft Regulation 7(3) provides that after, the minimum 12 week consultation period and the closing date for representations and after any modifications have been made, the planning authority is to publish, the Open Space Strategy by electronic means:.

Consultation Question 10

Do you agree with the proposed publication requirements for the OSS? Yes/No/No View/ Any Comments


69. Draft Regulation 8 requires planning authorities to review the open space strategy and to publish an updated open space strategy within the period of 10 years beginning on the date of publication of the most recent open space strategy. The 10 year period links to the 10 year review cycle for local development plans, and is intended to support evidence led plan making.

70. The figures in the Financial Memorandum for the Planning Bill for Open Space Strategies were based on the assumption there would be a 10 year review requirement. (These are covered in more detail in the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment.)

Consultation Question 11

Do you agree the Regulations should set a 10 year minimum review period for updating open space audits and strategies?

Yes/No/No View/ Any Comments



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