Society issues blueprint for local community green spaces reform

Proposal from Open Spaces Society follows inaction on Government pledge for new designation.

The Open Spaces Society (OSS) has sent communities' secretary Eric Pickles and environment minister Caroline Spelman a blueprint document outlining what should be covered by the Government's proposed green space protection law.

Under structural reform plans announced last year, the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) and Defra pledged to develop proposals for a new designation to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities.

The DCLG was due to publish a consultation in March. An announcement is due shortly.

The OSS document, A Framework for Green Space, calls for small areas of unprotected land to be considered for designation by their landscape, natural character, recreational, historical, heritage and community value. The new proposals would be vital to small "often not very inviting" pieces of land used by local communities in densely populated areas, the document states.

But it stresses that the new designation should not interfere with land, such as village greens, already protected by a registered status or replace existing registration processes. OSS general secretary Kate Ashbrook said the legislation should allow communities, owners or tenants of adjoining properties and councils to easily register parcels of land for protection and provide a simple and transparent appeal process.

Ashbrook added: "These will be bits of land that have got under the radar of existing protective designations. But they will be important to the people who live close by.

They need protection and we look to the Government's new designation to do that."

OSS GREEN SPACE DESIGNATION

KEY POINTS
- Protected land documents must be made public.
- Guarantee land against adverse development.
- Council must have duty to support and enforce designation.
- Register a statement of the land's purpose.
- Council must ensure purpose of land is upheld.


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