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Open Space Strategy & Standards

We define open space as land in public ownership that is regularly available for recreational or sporting use by the community, and also includes cemeteries and churchyards. Open spaces are valued community assets improving public health, well-being and quality of life, and bring regeneration benefits to an area. In 2012, a study of Cornwall’s residents recorded that 95% rated having good quality open spaces as important or very important (Cornwall Community Attitudes Survey).

Open Space Provision Standards are necessary to inform local planning. In accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework 2012, planning decisions should be informed by a robust and up to date local open space assessment. In 2014 Cornwall Council adopted the Open Space Strategy for Larger Towns in Cornwall as interim planning guidance pending adoption of the Cornwall Local Plan, when it will follow the process to become a Supplementary Planning Document. The strategy identifies local provision standards for open space for the following urban settlements:

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Evaluations of existing provision, housing targets and local consultations form the evidence base for the setting of new quantity, accessibility and quality provision standards. In the case of quantity requirements (area in m2 per person or dwelling), these vary for each of the 16 town areas, due to natural, cultural and historic differences. It is important to distinguish the different types or categories of open space, in order to ensure the right balance in provision for the community as a whole. Standards have been set for the following types:

  1. Parks and gardens; Amenity green space; Civic spaces
  2. Natural and semi-natural green spaces, beaches, green corridors, accessible non-productive countryside in urban fringe areas
  3. Public access sports facilities (outdoor): available for community games
  4. Children’s play area – equipped
  5. Provision for teenagers– equipped facilities
  6. Allotments, community gardens, and city (urban) farms
  7. Cemeteries (Penzance and Falmouth/Penryn only)

Twelve key policies are set out that support the delivery of the provision standards and establish principles for future residential development and for the preparation of an Open Space Adoptions Policy.

The document not only informs town framework plans (in 10 areas), but also developer contributions, neighbourhood planning, property decisions, grant funding and the management of environment assets.

For smaller towns and settlements in rural areas not covered in the plans the Fields in Trust quantity standards (formerly National Playing Fields Association) or Carrick Open Space Standards will continue to apply. However for these unmapped areas the methodology set out for the 16 Cornish towns can be applied and it is the intention that it be used for informing Neighbourhood Planning and eventually rolled out to all of Cornwall.