A three-stage open space assessment is required to determine how much open space is required for new development. The assessment will answer the following questions:
- Can all residents of new development access existing open space within the required distance? (Stage A)
- Is there an existing open space quantity shortfall in the local area? (Stage B)
- Is there an existing open space quality shortfall in the local area? (Stage C).
More details on how to determine open space requirements are set out in the Open Space SPD.
Stage A – Accessibility assessment
Please use the map (link below) to identify the location of the site. The map shows the location of existing amenity green space, outdoor sports facilities/playing pitches and provision for children and young people. It also shows the relevant distance buffer (circle) around each existing open space, noting where residents can access existing open space in line with the accessibility (distance) standards.
Map of open space and accessibility buffers (external website)
The accessibility (distance) standard is met if all the residents of the proposed development can access amenity green space, outdoor sports facilities/playing pitches and provision for children and young people within the required distance. If this is the case, there is no accessibility shortfall and applicants should proceed to Stage B.
The accessibility (distance) standard is not met if the residents of the proposed development cannot access amenity green space, outdoor sports facilities/playing pitches and provision for children and young people within the required distance. If this is the case, there is an accessibility shortfall and applicants should proceed to calculate their open space requirements using the council's Open Space Calculator (see below).
Stage B – Quantity assessment
Should any type of open space pass Stage A (i.e. there is no accessibility shortfall), applicants should carry out Stage B to determine if there is an existing quantity shortfall of the relevant type of open space.
Applicants should refer to the relevant Area Supply Report to determine whether there is an existing shortfall of the relevant type of open space. The relevant report will be the Area Supply Report, or, for some settlements, a development limits report.
The quantity standard is met should the supply report indicate there are no existing shortfalls in the type of open space under consideration. If this is the case applicants can proceed to Stage C.
The quantity standard is not met should the supply report indicate an existing shortfall in the type of open space under consideration. If this is the case applicants should proceed to calculate their open space requirements using the council's Open Space Calculator (see below).
Stage C – Quality Assessment
Applicants should carry out Stage C regardless of the outcome of Stages A and B.
The assessment at Stages A and B may conclude there is no requirement for new open space to be provided. In this case, Stage C is particularly important because a contribution towards improving the quality of existing open space may still be required.
The council's aim is to achieve quality scores of 71 percent or more (known as the 'Upper Quartile') for all open space types, with the exception of outdoor sports facilities/playing pitches. The council will aim to achieve a 'Good' rating of 65 percent and above for outdoor sports facilities/playing pitches.
Applicants will need to determine whether any existing open space in the relevant settlement falls under the relevant quality standard. The quality score for each existing open space can be found on the GIS mapping tool and a spreadsheet is also provided below. If all open spaces within the relevant settlement meet the quality standards, no contribution towards quality improvements will be required.
Should any type of open space in the relevant settlement score 70 percent or less or, in the case of playing pitches, 64 percent or less, a contribution towards improving the quality of existing open space will be required by way of a commuted sum.
Quality scores for open space (excel 372kb)
Open Space Calculator
The Open Space Calculator calculates the total number of people and children that could potentially occupy the development. This is based on the total number and size (number of bedrooms) of the proposed dwellings. Where the three stages of assessment (above) have identified that open space is required, the Calculator generates:
- the amount of open space required as a result of new development (m2 )
- the commuted sum equivalent (£), should it be acceptable to provide open space off-site
- the maintenance commuted sum (£), should the council be responsible for the long-term maintenance of new open space.
Open space calculator (excel 52kb)
If the exact number (and size) of dwellings are unknown, applicants should estimate the total number of dwellings by applying an average density of 30 dwellings per hectare and approximate the size of the dwellings. This will provide an initial guide of the likely open space requirements which can be revisited for the reserved matters application.