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2.0 - Planning for the Natural Environment, Play and Open Space and Green Spaces

What the Government say:

Planning for the Natural Environment, Play and Open Space and Green Spaces“The planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by: protecting and enhancing valued landscapes, geological conservation interests and soils”[1]

“Plans should allocate land with the least environmental or amenity value”[2]

“Local planning authorities should set criteria based policies against which proposals for any development on or affecting protected wildlife or geodiversity sites or landscape areas will be judged”[3]

“Access to high quality open spaces and opportunities for sport and recreation can make an important contribution to the health and wellbeing of communities. Planning policies should be based upon robust and up to date assessments of the needs for open space, sports and recreation facilities and opportunities for new provision”[4]

“Take account of the different roles and character of different areas....recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and supporting thriving rural communities within it” and “recognise that some open land can perform many functions (such as for wildlife, recreation, flood risk mitigation, carbon storage, or food production)”[5]

“Local communities should be able to identify for special protection green areas of particular importance to them”[6]

What the Borough’s Local Plan needs to do:

The Local Plan will identify natural and local environment and green infrastructure assets and where appropriate, aim to protect and enhance these assets.

The Local Plan will set out the purpose and functions of the Green Wedge designation and identify the boundaries of these areas.

The Local Plan will identify the need for additional areas for play, open space and recreation when planning for new development and ensure that green spaces are identified and protected to support sustainable and healthy environments for residents to enjoy.

Where appropriate, the Local Plan will need to designate land as Local Green Space where local people have identified that it is of particular importance to them. This will afford particular protection against development to such areas, provided that the land is not extensive, is local in character and reasonably close to the community; and, is demonstrably special, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value, tranquillity or richness of its wildlife.

The current situation:

We have assessed the natural and local environment assets that exist in the Borough, identified their location and considered how they may be protected and enhanced in the future[7]. We have identified a number of Local Wildlife Sites that may warrant special consideration when considering proposals for new development.

Green Infrastructure is made up of a range of green resources which can form a network of open spaces including parks, open spaces, woodlands, gardens, river corridors, allotments, open countryside and landscaping around buildings. We have identified the connections between these resources and how these connections are of benefit to both local wildlife and people within the Borough.[8]

We have a good understanding of the amount, location and quality of open space, sports and recreation facilities in the Borough[9] and we have set standards that ensure a sufficient amount of open space is provided in relation to new development.[10]

We carefully manage development so as to maintain the integrity of the two Green Wedges within the Borough between Oadby and Wigston and Oadby, Thurnby and Stoughton. We have also worked with partners to develop a strategy to ensure that the green wedges are effectively managed to ensure that they continue to serve their purpose.[11]

The Green Wedges within the Borough form part of the wider Green Wedge network around Leicester City. We have worked with other Councils in Leicester and Leicestershire to ensure a consistent approach to management and reviews of Green Wedge boundaries and to demonstrate the consistency of the Green Wedge designation with the National Planning Policy Framework.[12]

We have defined land designated as countryside in the Borough and set out the types of development than may be acceptable taking account of opportunities to mitigate any impact of development on the countryside.


[1] National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 109), March 2012

[2] National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 110), March 2012

[3] National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 113), March 2012

[4] National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 73), March 2012

[5] National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 17), March 2012

[6] National Planning Policy Framework (paragraphs 76); March 2012

[7] Phase 1 Biodiversity Audit and Habitats Assessment; 2005

[8] Oadby and Wigston Green Infrastructure Plan; 2010

[9] Open Space, Sport and Recreational Facilities Assessment: 2009

[10] Oadby and Wigston Core Strategy Policy 17; September 2010

[11] Oadby and Wigston Green Wedge Management Strategy and Oadby, Thurnby and Stoughton Green Wedge Management Strategy; 2005

[12] Statement on the consistency of the Green Wedge designation with the National Planning Policy Framework; 2012

Sustainable Development, Climate Change, Water and Flood Risk

The Challenges for the Future

Quick Question

Detailed Questions

Given the nature of the Borough, with the pressures associated with being predominantly urban and located immediately adjacent to Leicester City, opportunities to protect and enhance the natural and local environment assets can be limited. Similarly, despite recognition of the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, development pressure can require the need to balance this with benefits created by the growth of the Borough.

There are opportunities to access open space, sports and recreation facilities in the Borough, however, there is not always an adequate amount of provision or its quality may not be of a sufficient standard. Additional development can put increased pressure on these resources.

Green Wedges seek to retain the open and undeveloped character as well as retain and enhance public access to a particular area of land. Green Wedges also create green networks linking the countryside and open spaces within urban areas.

The Local Green Space designation allows local communities to seek to protect green areas that are of special importance to them.

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