General comments on the Local Green Spaces

Proposed in the Draft Chapel-en-le Frith Neighbourhood Plan and upon criteria underlying their selection

Modified by P. Soden, 15/4/2014

Emphasis on the views of local People

Table 1 in the Countryside Section of the draft Neighbourhood Plan lists proposed Local Green Spaces.

In selecting places for inclusion in Table 1 great emphasis was placed on the opinions of local people expressed in response to the Chapel Vision Survey 2012. Each of the Local Green Spaces listed in Table 1 was proposed by local people who judged that it satisfied the requirements in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)[1]. Following publication of the Consultation Version of the Draft Neighbourhood Plan, as part of the Chapel Vision consultation process, local people were approached and asked to comment on the proposed Local Green Spaces. So many local people wished to express support for some of the spaces that their signatures were collected on petitions. Neighbourhood Plans are intended to place greater emphasis on the views of local people, therefore even more weight should be given to their comments and petitions than is usual in traditional planning decisions.

Local in character and not an extensive tract of land

One of the criteria for a Local Green Space in the National Planning Policy Framework is that…..”the green area concerned is local in character and is not an extensive tract of land” .  What constitutes “local in character” or “an extensive tract of land” is not defined and an approach for clarification, via our local Member of Parliament, indicated that it is “open to interpretation”[2]. The Draft National Planning Practice Guidance[3] states “There are no hard and fast rules about how big a Local Green Space can be because places are different and a degree of judgement will inevitably be needed”.  In arriving at our interpretation of the criteria and our proposals for Local Green Spaces listed in the Neighbourhood Plan, the following have been taken into consideration:

The examples given for Local Green Spaces in the NPPF include, amongst others, green areas that hold particular local significance for their beauty, recreational value or richness of wildlife.

The larger spaces proposed for designation as a Local Green Space in this Neighbourhood Plan have usually been suggested by a large number of local people and  are usually multifunctional, the reasons people gave for nominating them being typically walking (a popular local recreation), the views, and also the wildlife

The landscape character of Chapel-en-le-Frith Parish is such that Local Green Spaces which local people have identified as special for their beauty and views are not generally very small enclosed spaces but are often more open spaces with extensive views of the hills and valleys.

Some species of wildlife require more space than others. According to the Local Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)[4] the most interesting and important local wildlife in the Parish include such species as lapwing, curlew and brown hare, which live in more open spaces.

[1] National Planning Policy Framework, Department of Communities and Local Government, 2012, paragraph 77
[2] National Planning Policy Framework, Memo: to Robert Dean for Andrew Bingham MP, From Christopher Barclay, House of   Commons Library Research Team, 15th Feb 2012.
[3] Draft National Planning Practice Guidance, Department of Communities and Local Government, August 2013.
[4] Peak District Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) 2011-2020

It is therefore expected that, because of the nature of the landscape and species of particular interest in Chapel-en-le Frith Parish, some of the local green spaces that are special to people for their beauty and wildlife in this parish are likely to be larger than those for some other areas of the country.

However, local people also identified some quite small spaces as being special for their wildlife and expressed delight in seeing relatively common species of wild flowers, scabius and orchids, bees in an orchard and small birds, including wrens, flocks of goldfinches and long tailed tits. Some people also said they gain enjoyment from observing and introducing their children to common farm animals, such as lambs and horses.

As a result, the Local Green Spaces proposed in this plan are of a wide range of sizes. Some are enclosed within the built up area but a number of the most popular local green spaces nominated by local people are places that are adjacent to countryside and farmland and have special significance to local people, largely because they provide pleasant and easy walking in interesting natural surroundings within a very short distance of their homes.

The phrase “local in character” is open to various interpretations. Here it is interpreted as meaning an area that is contained within clearly defined physical boundaries and occupies only a very small fraction of the total Neighbourhood Plan area.

Large tracts of land and large open areas whose boundaries are loosely defined have not been proposed for Local Green Space designation in the Neighbourhood Plan. For example, the area surrounding Eccles Pike that provides beautiful 360 degree panoramic views of the Parish has been excluded, despite the fact that it was nominated by 70 people in the Chapel Vision Survey.

Other spaces that are particularly special to local people have been proposed for Local Green Space designation providing they have clear physical boundaries.

The largest proposed Local Green Space is LGS 8, land around Combs Reservoir, which received an exceptional amount of support from local people in the Chapel Vision Survey (2012). The second largest is LGS 7 the Target Wall Fields. During the consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan, in March 2014 over two hundred local people petitioned in support of proposing LGS 7 shown in Fig C below.

In their response to the consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan, High Peak Borough Council indicated that the spaces LGS 7 and LGS 8 shown in Fig A and C below, might be regarded as too large to satisfy the NPPF criteria.  The boundaries of the two spaces were therefore redefined to reduce their areas (to those shown in Figs B and D below) whilst retaining as far as possible the features that are particularly special to local people. The revised areas occupy only tiny fractions (0.55% and 0.43%) of the total area of the Parish

It should also be noted that all of the proposed Local Green Spaces taken together occupy less than 2.3% of the total Neighbourhood Plan area.

In summary all of the proposed Local Green spaces satisfy the NPPF criteria.

  • All of the proposed Local Green Spaces are in or adjacent to the town or major settlements.
  • They have all been identified as special by local people.
  • They are local in character and in the local context none of them should be regarded as large tracts of land

The Local Green Spaces are not being proposed as a substitute for Green Belt.

Other General Comments on the proposed Local Green Spaces

All of the places that have been nominated for designation as Local Green Spaces within the countryside around Chapel-en-le Frith lie within the area classified as a Primary area of multiple environmental sensitivity in the Derbyshire County Council’s AMES study [1].

Some of the proposed Local Green Spaces lie within the area of the Landscape Impact Assessment study recently carried out by Wardell Armstrong for High Peak Borough Council[2]. All of those Local Green Spaces are in areas that Wardell Armstrong found “unable to accommodate development in landscape terms”.

A modified version of the Form proposed by Wardell Armstrong for assessing Local Green Spaces has been completed for each of the proposed Local Green Spaces.

A note (included in evidence, File 2) has been prepared describing the revised Form and how it can be used to test whether a space meets the NPPF criteria for a Local Green Space.

A short supporting case is presented separately for each of the proposed Local Green Spaces (see File 3). Each case for support includes a map and a completed Form, together with comments from local people, photographs and other evidence.

In defining and mapping the Local Green Spaces the intention was to exclude domestic curtilages.

Talking to local people about the Local Green Spaces they have nominated, and reading their comments and the evidence presented for the individual Local Green Spaces, it is clear that they do want to protect the spaces from development but the reason they support the proposals is not NIMBYism but that they genuinely regard the proposed spaces as special and wish to preserve them for future generations.

[1] A Methodology to Identify ‘Areas of Multiple Environmental Sensitivity’ (AMES), Derbyshire County Council, Environmental Services Department, Conservation and Design Section, 2011

[2] High Peak Local Plan Landscape Impact Assessment, Wardell Armstrong, for High Peak Borough Council, January 2014