The inspector noted advice in PPG17 that open space should not be built on unless an assessment clearly shows that it is surplus to requirements. Core strategy policy stipulated that development of open space would not be permitted where it would result in a quantitative shortage of formal or informal open space, defined as less than 4ha per thousand people. An open space audit indicated that provision in the locality was only 2.68ha per thousand.
The policy defined open space as a range of public and private areas that were predominantly open in character and could provide direct or indirect environmental, social or economic benefits. Informal open space included small green or landscaped areas providing a setting for built development and offering opportunities for informal recreation close to home or work.
The appellant contended that the site did not provide a setting for the surrounding built development and that access could be prevented, precluding informal recreation. The inspector observed that the site was open in character and provided a visual break in built development. On this basis, he held that it provided social and environmental benefits.
Any enclosure of the space by the appellant would be constrained and would not have a significantly adverse effect on its open character, he ruled. He acknowledged that there were two larger areas of informal open space in close proximity to the site that could be readily accessed by local residents but decided that they did not justify loss of the appeal site.
DCS Number 100-069-479
Inspector Alan Wood; Hearing