Draft Settlement Investment and Development (ID) Plans-Esher

Protecting land for existing uses

Open Spaces

1.21 Overall, open spaces within the urban area will be given greater protection than before through Development Management policy- DM5.[1] This sets out that existing open spaces should not be built on unless:

- “An assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the open space, buildings or land to be surplus to requirements; or

- The loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location; or

- The development is for alternative sports or recreational provision the needs of which clearly outweigh the loss”.

1.22 In addition the Government’s planning framework[2] sets out an additional protection that can be given to green spaces of particular importance to local communities. These can be designated as ‘Local Green Space’ and will benefit from the same level of protection as Green Belt. However, in considering the designation of Local Green Space, the framework states that:

“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 the 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”

1.23 As open space is afforded a higher level of protection than has previously been the case it is considered that the existing Strategic Open Urban Land designation is no longer relevant.

1. The Council’s Draft Development Management is also being consulted on at the moment. Please visit our web site to take part in this consultation and consider the new policies we propose to protect our open spaces [back]
2. Paragraphs 76, 77 and 78 of the National Planning Policy Framework [back]