Surrey Heath Draft Local Plan Issues Options/Preferred Options, 2018

Green Infrastructure and Open Space

6.91 Green Infrastructure is the network of open space comprising natural and semi natural, woodland, parks and gardens, allotments, street trees, hedges and gardens. Green Corridors include rivers and canals, cycle paths and rights of way. Surrey Heath has a rich and varied landscape which includes a variety of green infrastructure. This includes heathland, green spaces within the borough's urban and rural settlements, Suitable Alternative Green Space (SANG) -greenspace put into place to mitigate the impact of residential development on the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA) - and trees. Approximately 40% of Surrey Heath is treed, including along the A30 which runs through the Borough. Green Infrastructure plays an important part in the character of the Borough. Green infrastructure provides biodiversity opportunities through the provision of wildlife habitats and corridors. It can also play an important part in the character of an area including providing boundaries of one area from another.

6.92 Access to and the existence of green infrastructure has been recognised in playing an important role on the physical and mental wellbeing of people. The Council, through policies in the Local Plan will seek opportunities to provide, retain or enhance green infrastructure, including open space, in the Borough.

National Policy Context

6.93 In the preparation of this section regard has been had to paragraphs 69-78 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), 2012 which sets out the Government's approach to the role of green space in promoting healthy communities.

6.94 The Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) recognises the multi benefit role that Green Infrastructure can have in providing sustainable development.

View the national policies relating to green infrastructure in more detail, located within the online version of the Government's NPPF.

Local Strategies and Evidence

6.95 The preferred policy approach would support the objectives set out in Surrey Heath's Five Year Strategy 2016-2021. One of the Council's principal objectives is to build and encourage communities where people can live happily and healthily.

View the full version of Surrey Heath's Five Year Strategy, located on the Council's website.

6.96 The Council commissioned an Open Space, Playing Pitch and Indoor Sports Facilities Strategy in 2016. The Study looked at open space provision in the urban and rural areas and set out areas where the quality of open space provision could be enhanced.

View the Open Space, Playing Pitch and Indoor Sports Facilities Strategy Report, 2016 located in the Planning Policy evidence base section of the Council's website.

6.97 The following policies will be replaced in the new Local Plan (2016-2032).

Relevant Policies in the adopted Core Strategy & Development Management Policies DPD 2012

Policy CP2 Sustainable Development and Design

Policy CP12 Infrastructure Delivery and Implementation

Policy CP13 Green Infrastructure

Policy DM9 Design Principles

Policy DM15 Protection of Green Space and Recreational Facilities

Policy DM16 Provision of Open Space and Recreational Facilities

Draft Objectives for Green Infrastructure

6.98 The following table sets out the draft objective for green infrastructure in the Issues and Options/Preferred Options consultation draft.

Objective D

To ensure that development within the Borough is supported by the necessary physical, social and green infrastructure to meet the needs of future Surrey Heath residents.


Policy Approaches to Green Infrastructure and Open Space

6.99 The preferred policy approach and alternative approaches are set out below.

Preferred Policy Approach to Green Infrastructure

The aim of this policy approach is to ensure that any new development provides or contributes to the provision or enhancement of green infrastructure, including open green space, and improves linkages to other areas of green infrastructure whilst ensuring increased accessibility to green infrastructure does not result in increased recreational pressures on the SPA and SAC by having a policy that:

  • Designates green open space in the Borough.
  • Seeks the provision of multi -functional green infrastructure within new developments by the use of vegetation, hedges, native species tree planting and green walls.
  • Provides opportunities to improve links to existing green infrastructure and open green space and to provide boundary treatments where appropriate.
  • Requires development to provides or contributes to open green space.
  • Identifies green corridors along the A30 and other relevant roads in the Borough.

Where development proposals result in the loss of green infrastructure, including open space, then appropriate replacement equivalent to or better value will be required.

Alternative Approaches to Green Infrastructure

A proposed alternative approach to green infrastructure is not to have a specific green infrastructure policy but to include provision of green infrastructure, including open space, in a design policy.

A proposed alternative approach to open space is not to designate green open space on the Policies Map.