Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft

Document Section Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft Delivery DM75 [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 8142593//9
Respondent Deleted User [View all comments by this respondent]
Agent Deleted User
Response Date 19 Apr 2013
Current Status Accepted

Policy DM73: Local Green Space

The Proposals Map and Schedule 5 identify land at Farleigh Fields, Backwell as a proposed Local Green Space (LGS).  The land was not previously identified or protected in the Replacement Local Plan as amenity space, but has been identified by the Parish Council as part of the emerging Neighbourhood Plan process.  We would, however, support the designation of part of the site as a LGS, broadly in line with the area identified in the Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft.

The Background Paper on Local Green Space (February 2013) states that part of Farleigh Fields is deemed acceptable as a LGS on the basis of meeting the following designation criteria – ‘beauty’ and ‘recreation’.  The site is fully enclosed by built development and is not visible from the main settlement itself.  It therefore makes a limited contribution to local identify and character unless walking through the site, or backing onto the site from a neighbouring property.  The land is also in private ownership and is predominately in agriculture use.  The land therefore has no recreational value other than through the public rights of way that cross two of the fields at Farleigh Fields.  No other areas within Farleigh Fields are able to be legitimately accessed by the public. 

On the basis of the above, there would be no justification for identifying the whole of Farleigh Fields as a LGS.  There is no evidence to suggest that the site as a whole holds a special value as a green space, indeed a majority is not even accessible to the public. 

As stated above, our clients are promoting a mixed use development including housing at Farleigh Fields.  The options submitted as part of the Neighbourhood Plan process do not propose built development on the whole of Farleigh Fields, and are capable of being integrated with the proposed LGS designation.  On the other hand an enabling residential development at Farleigh Fields would not only deliver this desired level of LGS and public open space, but also offer the potential of a number of additional benefits.  

Our clients initial development options demonstrate that the site is capable of delivering residential development, multipurpose community facilities and parking, public open space and ecological enhancement areas.  The proposals would actually ensure that a significantly higher amount of Farleigh Fields was publically accessible and able to contribute to the health and well-being of the community.  Without bringing forward development on the site, public access will remain limited to the existing public footpaths crossing two of the fields at Farleigh Fields only.  It would therefore be more beneficial to the community if the Sites and Policies Plan proposed some form of residential development at Farleigh Fields, together with publically accessible open space, green infrastructure and potentially community facilities.

Paragraph 76 of the NPPF also states that the identification of land as LGS should be consistent with the local planning of sustainable development and complement investment in sufficient homes, jobs and other essential services.  It goes on to emphasise that LGS should be capable of enduring beyond the end of the plan period.  This is recognised in the Background Paper on Local Green Space.  As stated earlier in this document, we believe that there is a need to identify land at Farleigh Fields for enabling residential development within the plan period to ensure that there is sufficient provision of new homes and other services and facilities in Backwell.  The proposed development would bring a number of other benefits and could deliver new community services/facilities and public open space.  It would therefore be inappropriate to designate the whole of Farleigh Fields as a LGS.  Given that Farleigh Fields is surrounded by the settlement boundary and is located in a highly sustainable location, it is a logical site for further development.  We believe that the site is required for development within the plan period, but should it not be allocated it can be strongly argued that the site would be still required beyond the current plan period.  A LGS designation for the whole of Farleigh Fields would not therefore be capable of enduring beyond the end of the plan period – thereby failing one of the key tests of the NPPF.