Identifying and protecting the borough’s most valued green spaces

Published on 19th March 2015

Tall grass and spiky teasels, blue sky and fluffy white coulds

Report released to identify potential areas to be designated as Local Green Space (LGS).

Cheltenham Borough Council working with Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC) has released a report pinpointing the green areas of particular importance to local parishes and neighbourhood groups.

National planning policy allows local communities to identify green areas of particular importance to them through the council’s development plan or neighbourhood plans. By designating land as Local Green Space (LGS) local communities are able to rule out new development other than in very special circumstances.

Beginning in October last year, Cheltenham’s parishes and neighbourhood and community groups were asked to identify which areas of land would be good candidates for this designation. The report identifies 29 areas which the communities think might fit the bill. These include detailed information from the parishes at Leckhampton and Swindon Village arguing for LGS to be included within development sites proposed in the Joint Core Strategy which is due for public examination later this year.

The sites identified in the report will carry forward into the forthcoming ‘issues and options’ consultation on the Cheltenham Plan planned for June this year. Most of the areas submitted are already subject to planning protection to varying degrees, so this consultation will ask if the new designation is right for each of the locations or if other places would be more suitable for the ‘upgraded’ protection. It will also be an opportunity for local communities to submit additional evidence of why a particular green space is special to them.

Councillor Steve Jordan, leader of the council, said: "Green spaces are not only important for our health and well-being but are a vital part of making Cheltenham the place it is. Somewhere where people will thrive, be inspired and generate prosperity for both their families and the community. I welcome the work of officers and GRCC in bringing together the initial views of Cheltenham’s parish councils and neighbourhood groups on which areas of the borough they feel are of particular beauty, historic significance or recreational value. An opportunity exists for increasing existing protection to a designation now identified in national policy and so this should be fully explored.

"The next step will be to consult the wider community on the findings of the report through the forthcoming Cheltenham Plan consultation scheduled for June this year. The report will also be sent to the JCS inspector as additional information for her consideration as part of the examination."

The report can be found on the council’s website.

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