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 Planning: strategic issues

October 2011 

27 September 2011

 

ELM/ASU

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

3/C Nobel House

17 Smith Square

London, SWIP 3JR

 

 

Dear Sir

 

CONSULTATION: REGISTRATION OF NEW TOWN OR VILLAGE GREENS

  

I am writing to respond to the consultation document.

 

The Horsham Society is one of the largest amenity societies in the south of England with over 1250 members.  The Society has been instrumental in supporting local residents in making applications under the existing legislation for new town greens, and in recent years two new greens have been registered in the town a 100% success rate. 

 

We have identified a number of other greens which we believe should be registered in order to protect them in perpetuity.  Town greens are often very different to the traditional image of a village green but perform a similar function in providing informal recreation space and also help to soften the urban streetscape.  They are often the only spaces which can still support forest trees which were an important feature of many of our towns but are fast disappearing.

 

In our view the case has not been made for change at the present time.  We do not accept that most if not all greens which are appropriate for registration have by now been dealt with. 

 

We oppose the introduction of a fee structure. What the consultation draft fails to recognise is that a great deal of detailed work in building and evidencing a case for registration falls on the local community.  Similarly, the benefits of registration accrue not just to the applicants but future generations.  In areas of towns with a high turnover of residents these benefits can be multiplied many times.  We therefore consider that it would be unreasonable to charge for submitting an application. 

 

There is no evidence that the new local space designation included within the draft National Planning Policy Framework will offer an adequate route for protecting areas of green space in and surrounding towns, particularly given the apparent intention that it should be used infrequently.

 

We therefore consider that the current arrangements should be left unaltered, perhaps for a fixed period of, say, ten years after which there could be a further review taking account of experience of use of the local space designation.

 

 

Yours faithfully

 

John Steele

Secretary, Planning Sub Committee