The provision of a well-connected and multi-functional Green Infrastructure (GI) in our cities, towns and villages is hugely important for a sustainable future and is embedded in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The contribution made by GI to health and well-being, quality of life and the local economy is widely recognised and has set challenges for local authorities in ensuring that open space provision is well distributed, of high quality and adequately funded.
In 2015, TEP was commissioned by Wellingborough Borough Council to assess the quantity, quality and accessibility of open spaces, sports and recreational facilities throughout the borough. The study set new locally derived provision standards for parks and gardens, natural and semi-natural open spaces, amenity greenspaces, green corridors, provision for children and young people, allotments, cemeteries and churchyards, civic spaces, and outdoor and indoor sports facilities.
TEP facilitated the consultation process which assisted in establishing the provision standards and included consultation with many stakeholders and the local community. The final document, Open Space, Sport and Recreation Facilities Audit and Assessment (2015) was used as evidence base through the local plan review process.
Subsequent to this, TEP was appointed to develop the assessment further, formulating actions and delivery mechanisms. The resulting Open Space Assessment and Strategy (2017) document includes a review of Accessible Natural Greenspace Standards within the borough; identifies deficiencies and surpluses for quantity, quality and accessibility of each open space typology; makes recommendations for open space policies in the emerging Local Plan; and sets out a method for calculating developer contributions.