Open Space

Checklist

The Open Space Study will form part of the evidence base that will be used to inform the development of the District’s Local Development Framework (LDF). 

The Open Space, Play Pitch and Built Sports Provision studies have been carried out to ensure that the provision of parks, play areas, built sports facilities, playing fields, allotments, amenity spaces and natural green spaces meet the needs of the local community in terms of their quantity, quality and accessibility. The recommendations of these studies will help Bassetlaw District Council to develop new policies, inform future management strategies and target additional funding at areas lacking adequate provision.

Open Space Study Review

Methodology

Open spaces (parks, allotments, green corridors, amenity and natural greenspace) are evaluated using an assessment pro forma, examining proximity of the sites to residential areas and its security, general location and condition. An assessment of quality and value is also undertaken, as recommended in PPG17 guidance. Play areas are assessed separately through a specific play analysis sheet, in order to also capture equipment specific information.

Quality and Value

Quality and value are fundamentally different and can be unrelated. For example, a high quality space may be in an inaccessible location and, thus, be of little value; while, if a rundown (poor quality) space may be the only one in an area and thus be immensely valuable. As a result, quality and value are also treated separately in terms of scoring. Each type of open space receives a separate quality and value score (expressed as a percentage).

Assessing Quality

Data collated from site visits is based upon the Green Flag Award scheme (a national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales, operated by the Green Flag Plus Partnership). The play area assessment criteria are based upon Fields in Trust (FIT) guidelines. These are utilised to calculate a quality score for each site visited. Scores in the database are presented as percentage figures. The quality criteria used for the open space assessments carried out are summarised in the following table.

Quality criteria for open space site visit (score)

  • Physical access, e.g., public transport links, directional signposts.
  • Access-social, e.g., appropriate minimum entrance widths.
  • Parking, e.g., disabled parking.
  • Information signage, e.g., presence of up to date site information.
  • Equipment and facilities, e.g., assessment of both adequacy and maintenance of provision such as seats, benches, bins, toilets.
  • Location value, e.g., proximity of housing, other greenspace.
  • Site problems, e.g., presence of vandalism, graffiti.
  • Healthy, safe and secure, e.g., staff on site.
  • Maintenance and cleanliness, e.g., condition of landscape.
  • Groups that the site meets the needs of, e.g., elderly, young people.
  • Site potential.

Assessing Value

Using data calculated from site visits, and desk based evaluations, a value score for each site is identified. Value is defined in PPG17 in relation to the following three issues:

  • Context of the site i.e. its accessibility, scarcity value and historic value.
  • Level and type of use.
  • The wider benefits it generates for people, biodiversity and the wider environment.

The value criteria used are summarised below:

Value criteria for open space site visits (score)

  • Level of use (observations only).
  • Context of site in relation to other open spaces.
  • Structural and landscape benefits.
  • Ecological benefits.
  • Educational benefits.
  • Social inclusion and health benefits.
  • Cultural and heritage benefits.
  • Amenity benefits and a sense of place.
  • Economic benefits.

Value - non site visit criteria (score)

  • Designated site such as LNR or SSSI.
  • Educational programme in place.
  • Historic site.
  • Listed building or historical monument on site.
  • Registered 'friends of group' to the site.
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