DC Casebook: Housing: New Build - Open space layout regarded as deficient

A house builder has failed to secure approval of various reserved matters associated with a 150-home estate in Norfolk following a ruling that the design of open space is deficient.

The appeal site was bounded by a river and drainage ditch and the appellants proposed a linear open space alongside the watercourse. Three play areas would be provided - a locally equipped area for play (LEAP) and two local areas for play (LAPs). While not querying the total amount of space provided, the council argued that the long, thin space and the size, shape and position of the play areas led to an unsatisfactory layout that would not be convenient or attractive for residents to use.

The inspector agreed that the open space would have an unrelieved appearance because no planting or other structures could be placed in it because of its proximity to the river. The LEAP would be less than the recommended 400m2 size and would contain an even smaller activity zone with only four pieces of equipment rather than the recommended six, he observed.

He was concerned that it would have an inadequate buffer area around it. As a result, he predicted, residents living close by could be adversely affected by games and other boisterous activity when the equipment was in use. This deficiency also meant that the space would not be capable of performing a role as a LAP because it would adversely affect the range of play space available to cater for younger age groups, he determined.

DCS Number 100-064-529

Inspector Andrew Jeyes; Inquiry

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