Local Green space review
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that local communities, through local plans, are able to identify Local Green Space for specific protection.
Paragraphs 99 to 101 of the NPPF introduce a Local Green Space designation (LGS) to protect local green areas of particular importance to local communities. Once designated, the LGS is subject to the same strong development restrictions as Green Belt, and new development here is ruled out other than in special circumstances.
Paragraph 100 of the NPPF set out the criteria that green space must meet in order to be designated as Local Green Space:
“The Local Green Space designation should only be used where the space is:
a) in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves;
b) demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value, tranquillity, or richness of its wildlife; and
c) local in character and is not an extensive tract of land.”
The NK Forum has undertaken a review of the key green spaces within the Forum area, to identify potential sites to be designated as Local Green Space. This is a qualitative assessment and no weightings have been applied to the different criteria. The review uses the following descriptors and key:
Note that the review does not include the following:
School playing fields - These are already protected as playing field land.
Public rights of way - Local Green Space designations are not required to protect a public right of way.
3.Recommendations withReasoned Justifications
The North Kingston Forum proposes to designate the following as Local Green Space:
i.Latchmere Recreation Ground
Latchmere Recreation Ground is a 9-acre area, popular with dog walkers, young families and footballers attending Kinston Little League, who run Saturday sessions on the Rec. As well as an open field, the recreation ground includes a small playground and public toilets. There is an active volunteer group – Friends of Latchmere Rec. (FoLaR) – who has developed a masterplan for Latchmere Rec. based on feedback from community consultations. NK Forum fully supports FoLaR’s endeavours, which reflect the local residents needs and desires. Latchmere Recreation Ground has a covenant on it, restricting how the Rec can be used.
ii.Elm Road Recreation Ground
Elm Road Recreation Ground is a Field in Trust, protected since July 2012 under the “Queen Elizabeth II” programme. The grounds contain a large, recently refurbished playground which is very popular with local school children. There is also a free to use casual 5-a-side football area along with a large grass area which is very popular with local dog walkers. The park benefits from community work conducted by the Save the World Club Community Projects who, working with local adults and children, has seen the introduction of arts projects depicting scenes from different communities from around the world adding character to this space.
Dinton Field is held in the Achieving for Children portfolio. The Dinton Field Trust were awarded a 25-year lease on 1st April 2006, due to end 31st March 2031. The site is managed by Kingstonian Youth/Dinton Field Trust and as well as a playing field there is a club house/pavilion, managed by Kingstonian Youth Trust, and a nursery which opened in January 2009. Local schools use the site on an ad-hoc basis for their sports days etc.
Canbury Gardens is a hugely important local amenity. It is the only formal park in the Neighbourhood area and is well used by local residents and others visiting the Borough. Dating from the Victorian age, the park runs along the River Thames and includes lawns, tennis courts and a bandstand. Canbury Gardens is maintained by the council and cared for by the Canbury and Riverside Area (CARA) subgroup; Friends of the Gardens. There is also a well-run community garden which gives local residents and youngsters first-hand experience of growing food for the table and how important biodiversity is in that process. Canbury Gardens is currently designated as Metropolitan Open Land.
v.Hawker Centre playing fields(*)
The Hawker Centre’s playing fields are available for community recreational use – mainly football. They offer much-needed youth provision in the Forum area. Also used by local schools e.g. The Kingston Academy for weekly outdoor P.E. lessons. The Hawker Centre playing fields are within an area that is currently designated as Metropolitan Open Land.
vi.St Luke’s Vicarage garden (*)
Privately owned with restricted access. The landscaped garden has been used for many years for general community as well as religious events. Community highlights of each year are: May Merry, summer BBQs, BRaG OctoberFest, Guy Fawkes 5th November, Street Party time and Winter Warmup events. The garden also provides a tranquil place for reflection and meditation.
vii.1st Kingston Hill Scouts green space (*)
Privately owned with restricted access. Community facility with wide ranging outdoor sports opportunities including archery, camping, a multi-activity centre all helping young people gain DoE awards and life skills in general.
viii.World War Two V2 Rocket memorial site
Small site with a memorial stone commemorating eight civilians who were killed here by a V-2 rocket in 1945. The damage to homes made it the most severe and widespread incident of World War II in the Borough.
ix.Park Road allotments(*)
x.Wolsey Drive allotments(*)
The Forum area has three allotment sites: Park Road, Wolsey Drive and Parkfields. All are well used and have membership waiting lists. Park Road and Wolsey Drive allotments are managed by Tudor Allotment Association (TAA). The council managed Parkfields and TAA managed Wolsey Drive have statutory status and so are protected under the Allotments Act 1925. NK Forum fully supports an application for the TAA managed Park Rd allotment site to gain statutory designation, and for all three sites to retain their statutory protection under the Allotments Act 1925. It is understood that the National Allotment Society holds a copy of a national allotments survey returned by Kingston Council in 1996, and that the three sites serve the majority of allotment interest in North Kingston. There is also a community garden located on the Parkfields site which is being developed by permaculturists.
xii.Canbury and Tudor riverside (including Royal Park Gate open green space)
North Kingston is proud to be bordering the River Thames. The riverside path stretches from Kingston Bridge to the border with Richmond upon Thames. It incorporates very well utilised foot and cycle paths and has infrastructure to support numerous water-based activities such as rowing and sailing. The area is a nature zone in itself, with shrubs, grass, trees and wildlife habitat. There is also a children’s playground next to the Royal Park Gate estate. Two sections of the riverside path fall within Metropolitan Open Land parcels. Royal Park Gate Open Space is designated as a Local Site of Importance to Nature Conservation (SINC).
(*) Will need to inform the owner
Metropolitan Open Land designation
Metropolitan Open Land is strategic open land within the urban area and has the same protection as Green Belt areas. If land is already protected by policy on Metropolitan Open Land, then consideration should be given to whether any additional local benefit would be gained by designation as Local Green Space. The Local Green Space designation could help to identify areas that are of particular importance to the local community in areas where protection from development is the norm but where there could be exceptions.
Allotments statutory designation
The Allotments Act 1925 serves to facilitate the acquisition and maintenance of allotments, and to make further provision for the security of tenure of tenants of allotments.
Whether to designate land is a matter for local discretion. For example, green areas could include land where sports pavilions, boating lakes or structures such as war memorials are located, allotments, or urban spaces that provide a tranquil oasis.