Cheltenham Plan Pre-Submission consultation

Pre-Submission Cheltenham Plan

16 Green Infrastructure

CONTEXT

16.1 One of Cheltenham’s distinctive features is its green and open nature. The Council recognises the importance of green spaces and their connectivity in the town and to the surrounding countryside, and particularly the opportunities they provide for recreation and relaxation, contributing to the health and well-being of residents and visitors. In addition, green spaces add to the quality of the town’s built and natural environment. The landscape of the town provides a green network of spaces and wildlife corridors which support a variety of trees, vegetation, and wildlife habitats, assisting in biodiversity conservation throughout the town and into the wider countryside.

16.2 The Council is proud of its parks, gardens and other green spaces and features. In recognition of this, the Council does not wish to see their loss through development, or their deterioration through poor management and lack of resources and funding. The Council will seek to protect existing open spaces within the town, enhance and improve their management to provide improved facilities for recreation and nature conservation, and provide new green features where appropriate. The Council will also encourage others to undertake the same.

GREEN SPACES

16.3 Green space is undeveloped land, not necessarily provided for formal recreation or public amenity, which makes a positive visual and environmental contribution to the town. Green space in the urban environment occurs in a variety of forms:

  • public parks and ornamental gardens associated with, and intrinsic to, the setting and form of Cheltenham;
  • grounds of large houses, institutions, commercial and educational properties;
  • public and private playing fields;
  • incidental open spaces associated with the layout of planned housing and industrial estates;
  • children’s play space in residential areas;
  • allotments;
  • private gardens;
  • Local Green Space;
  • various other open spaces, including land incidental to the laying out of roads, footpaths and cycleways.

16.4 Green space in the urban environment has worth for its townscape, environmental, wildlife and recreational values. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (Para. 73) describes the contribution open spaces make to the health and well-being of communities. The Borough Council will take this into account when making development control decisions and formulating local plan policies.

TOWNSCAPE VALUE

16.5 ‘Townscape’ can be defined as the positive features of a place, which create a special identity for a given area. Primarily buildings and green spaces create this identity. These features are supported by other elements, such as trees and street furniture, which may add to the character of the townscape. High-quality townscape creates distinctive places within the public realm which are valued by the people that use them and contribute towards a sense of civic pride.

ENVIRONMENTAL VALUE

16.6 In addition to its visual importance, green space contributes to an urban environment in other ways. By creating lower densities of development, it can reduce levels of activity in an area, thereby contributing to a more peaceful and relaxed ambience, a benefit equally important in commercial and residential areas.

16.7 Human life, health and well-being depend on a healthy natural environment. Vegetation contributes to the physical well-being of a town by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, so improving the quality of air. Acting as a baffle, it can also absorb and so reduce noise.

WILDLIFE VALUE

16.8 Green spaces are essential in providing habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna. Some green spaces, particularly the more extensive and relatively undisturbed grounds of large houses and non-residential properties, may also harbour legally protected species such as barn owls, badgers and bats. Green spaces are therefore of significance to nature conservation.

RECREATIONAL VALUE

16.9 Much public green space is provided primarily for public recreation use, but also has an amenity value. However, green spaces do not have to be large to be enjoyed. Other types of green space, which have been provided for their townscape value, can often also afford opportunities for informal recreation such as walking, picnics and dog walking. All these spaces contribute to the health and well-being of the community. Policies protecting outdoor play space, and also safeguarding amenity space with an incidental recreational value, are set out in Chapter 17: Social and Community Infrastructure.

ECONOMIC VALUE

16.10 High-quality parks and green spaces can be associated with adding economic value, by improving the quality of the townscape, assisting in urban regeneration and neighbourhood renewal projects, improving the attractiveness of locations for businesses, creating community enterprise and generating new employment.

SOCIAL VALUE

16.11 Access to urban green spaces can promote healthy living, well-being and education. Green spaces provide the community and visitors with opportunities for physical recreation and relaxation, and for social interaction.

LOCAL GREEN SPACE

16.12 The NPPF (Paras. 76-78) makes provision for local communities to identify green areas of particular importance to those communities, where development will not be permitted except in very special circumstances. These Local Green Spaces (LGS) can be designated through a local plan or through neighbourhood plans. The LGS designation will be an addition to the current protections for green spaces set out in the Cheltenham Plan, Joint Core Strategy (JCS) and Development on Garden Land & Infill Sites Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

POLICY GI1: LOCAL GREEN SPACE


Development will not be permitted within a Local Green Space, designated either within the Cheltenham Plan or an approved Neighbourhood Plan, unless there are very special circumstances which outweigh the harm to the Local Green Space. Particular attention will be paid to the views of the local community in assessing any development proposals that affect a designated Local Green Space.

The sites listed in Table 8 are designated as Local Green Spaces within the Cheltenham Plan.

In accordance with Policy TN1, development proposals which would prejudice the future use of the Honeybourne Line as a continuous sustainable transport corridor will not be permitted. Development within the Honeybourne Line Local Green Space, which will facilitate its use as a sustainable transport corridor, may constitute very special circumstances which outweigh harm.

In accordance with Policy MD5, playing fields for the proposed secondary school in Leckhampton will be considered an appropriate use of Local Green Space subject to all other design and landscape policies.

This policy contributes towards achieving the Cheltenham Plan Vision: Theme C – objectives a, b, e and f.

16.13 In response to the introduction of the new Local Green Space designation outlined in the NPPF, Cheltenham Borough Council commissioned Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC) to work with parishes and community groups within the Borough on a Local Green Space Study. The aim of the work was to help communities to identify and analyse potential Local Green Spaces to be considered for designation through the emerging Cheltenham Plan. The product of this was the Local Green Space toolkit, which enabled residents to submit potential Local Green Spaces.

16.14 Additional sites have been suggested by local communities during the various consultation stages of the Cheltenham Plan. These have been considered alongside the original submissions from the LGS study.

16.15 The 2006 Local Plan contained a policy which safeguarded from development a number of public green spaces around the Borough which are now owned by the Council. None of these sites have been developed since the policy was implemented and the policy remains popular and highly needed. The public green space policy was very much a forerunner of the LGS policy in the NPPF, in that it gave locally valued open spaces strong protection against development. This protection should be maintained in the Cheltenham Plan but having one policy for these sites and another for new LGS sites would be confusing and inefficient. Therefore the former public green space sites are now also included in the LGS designation.

Table 8: Sites designated as Local Green Space
Site Area (ha) Reason Ref no.
Leckhampton Fields 39.31 The JCS Inspector discussed LGS at Leckhampton in her Preliminary Findings: “In my judgement, the evidence suggests that the NPPF criteria are met and LGS designation is justified.” 1
Fairview Green 0.16 Highly valued site owned and managed by CBC. It is similar to several other Public Green Space sites but not designated. Currently has strong protection due to use and ownership but is also valued by the community. 2
St. Mark’s and Hesters Way Community Centre grounds 0.51 This site has a clear value to the local community for its recreational use. No objections to its designation were received in previous consultations. 4
Lynworth Green 0.42 This site has a clear value to the local community for its recreational use and as a centre point for the area. No objections to its designation were received in previous consultations. 5
Albemarle Orchard Gardens 0.1 This site has a clear value to the local community for its recreational use and as a community space. No objections to its designation were received in previous consultations. 6
Colesbourne Road and Redgrove Park 0.81 This site has a clear value to the local community for its recreational use. No objections to its designation were received in previous consultations. 7
North West Strategic Allocation 24.5 The JCS Inspector said, in her Final Report that, “the allocation at North West Cheltenham should ensure that a green buffer remains around Swindon Village within which Local Green Space may be designated, the detailed boundaries of which are to be left to the forthcoming Cheltenham Local Plan.” 8
Victoria Cricket Ground 2.76 This site has a clear value to the local community for its recreational use. No objections to its designation were received in previous consultations. 9
Ewens Farm Play Area 0.14 Highly valued site owned and managed by CBC. It is similar to several other Public Green Space sites but not designated. Currently has strong protection due to use and ownership but is also valued by the community. 10
Harrington Drive 0.03 This site has a clear value to the local community for its recreational use. Although it is a fairly small green space, it benefits from significant local value as demonstrated in the submitted LGS toolkit. 11
Clyde Crescent 2.79 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 12
Clarence Square 0.68 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 13
Whaddon Road 2.23 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 14
Pittville Circus 0.37 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 15
Fiddlers Green Lane 1.21 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 16
Pittville Crescent (south) 0.25 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 17
Pittville Crescent (north) 0.25 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 18
Wellington Square 0.72 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 19
Pittville Park (south) 1.79 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 20
George Readings Way 0.79 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan with amendments to take into account LGS toolkit 21
Pittville Park 4.28 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 22
St. Peter’s/Chelt Walk 5.13 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 23
Caernarvon Road 1.16 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 24
Pittville Park (north) 4.75 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 25
Sandford Road 0.17 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 26
Bath Road 0.20 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 27
Montpellier Gardens 3.71 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 28
Lansdown Crescent 0.81 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 29
Queen Elizabeth II Playing Field 4.23 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 30
Swindon Village 8.89 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 31
Welch Road 7.51 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 32
Henley Road (south east) 0.22 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 33
Henley Road (north west) 0.59 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 34
King George V Playing Field 11.70 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 35
Coronation Square 0.45 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 36
Hesters Way Park 4.02 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 37
Horsefair Street 1.07 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 38
Priors Farm 5.30 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 39
Benhall (west) 3.57 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 40
Benhall (east) 6.23 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 41
Reddings Road 1.08 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 42
Hatherley Park 3.11 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 43
Burrows Field 6.34 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 44
Naunton Park 5.02 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 45
Sandford Mill - Cox's Meadow 5.46 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 46
King William Drive 0.34 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 47
Charlton Park 0.94 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 48
Cirencester Road 1.33 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 49
Sandy Lane 5.91 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 50
The Beeches 5.75 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 51
Sandford Park (south) 2.87 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 52
Arle Court 1.73 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 53
Weavers Field 3.29 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 54
Imperial Gardens 1.16 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 55
Fernleigh Green 0.27 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 56
Glenlea Park 0.78 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 57
Cheriton Park 1.21 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 58
Manor Park 0.56 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 59
Up Hatherley Green 0.18 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 60
Hatherley Court Gardens 1.01 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 61
Holmer Park/Greatfield Park 1.95 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 62
Chelt Walk (Jessops Avenue) 1.02 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 63
Pilgrove Way (west) 0.82 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan with amendments to take into account LGS toolkit 64
Pilgrove Way (east) 0.29 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan with amendments to take into account LGS toolkit 65
Oxford and Priory Garden (south east) 0.06 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 66
Oxford and Priory Garden (north west) 0.09 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 67
Honeybourne Line (central) 0.81 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 68
Honeybourne Line (south) 2.47 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 69
Honeybourne Line (north) 4.18 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 70
Winston Churchill Gardens 1.20 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 71
The Lanes (north) 0.60 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 72
The Lanes (south) 0.20 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 73
Sandford Park (north) 1.93 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 74
Pilley Bridge (south-east) 1.44 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 75
Pilley Bridge (north-west)  0.85 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 76
Chelt Walk (St. Georges Road) 0.17 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 77
Chelt Walk (Honeybourne Way) 0.51 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 78
Long Mynd Avenue 0.32 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 79
Land off Springbank Road 0.37 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan with amendments to take into account LGS toolkit 80
Summerfield Close 0.03 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 81
Pittville Park 19.51 Existing PGS site in 2006 Local Plan 82
Jasmin Way/Justica Way Open Space 0.35 The site is owned and managed by CBC. It is very similar to several other Public Green Space sites but was not designated in the 2006 Local Plan. It is included here for consistency. 83
Campion Park Open Space 0.94 The site is owned and managed by CBC. It is very similar to several other Public Green Space sites but was not designated in the 2006 Local Plan. It is included here for consistency. 84
Berkeley Garden 0.11 The site is owned and managed by CBC. It is very similar to several other Public Green Space sites but was not designated in the 2006 Local Plan. It is included here for consistency. 85
West Cheltenham Strategic Allocation 18.25 Policy A7 of the JCS requires the West Cheltenham Strategic Allocation site to include Local Green Space as part of a network of green infrastructure. 86

 

LOCAL GREEN SPACE WITHIN JCS STRATEGIC ALLOCATIONS

16.16 The JCS allocated two strategic sites on the edge of Cheltenham, North West and West. Through the JCS examination process, it was determined that both of these sites justify the inclusion of Local Green Space. The designation of the LGS was considered a matter for the Cheltenham Plan or Neighbourhood Plans. These areas can be found online here: https://www.cheltenham.gov.uk/downloads/download/1527/cheltenham_plan_-_local_green_space

16.17 The local green space area and indicative layout for Leckhampton is among the previous maps too, as this is a large site which was considered by the JCS, even though it is not a JCS allocation. The LGS for Leckhampton, the housing and school allocation is made by the Cheltenham Plan.

TREES

16.18 Aerial photographs of Cheltenham illustrate how wooded the town is. Trees populate most green spaces and are also found alongside many of the town’s roads; avenues of roadside trees were a notable characteristic of Regency Cheltenham and has continued until today, supported by new planting which has sought to perpetuate the Regency style. In addition to being a pleasant feature in the townscape and providing valuable wildlife habitats, trees have other environmental benefits. They help to reduce the effects of climate change, by absorbing carbon dioxide and other airborne pollutants. On a local scale, trees provide shade and shelter, reduce noise and stress, encourage inward investment and add economic value.

PROTECTION, REPLACEMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF TREES

16.19 Conservation Area status and Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) are the Borough Council’s only sources of legal protection for trees on private land. No work can be carried out to protected trees without first notifying the local planning authority, and in the case of trees subject of a Preservation Order, express consent is required. Violation of protected status can be liable to legal action and a fine. Felling licences, issued by the Forestry Commission, may also be needed for felling specific volumes of trees.

POLICY GI2: PROTECTION AND REPLACEMENT OF TREES


The Borough Council will resist the unnecessary (Note 1) felling of trees on private land, and will make Tree Preservation Orders in appropriate cases.

For protected trees (Note 2), the Council will require:

a) any tree which has to be felled to be replaced, where practicable (Note 3); and

b) pruning, where it is necessary, to be undertaken so as to minimise harm to the health or general appearance of a tree and to be in conformity with British Standard for Tree Work (BS3998, 2010).

In cases where trees are not protected by a Tree Preservation Order or by being in a Conservation Area, but contribute to the townscape and character of the town, the Council will consider including such trees in a Tree Preservation Order.

This policy contributes towards achieving the Cheltenham Plan Vision: Theme C – objectives a, b, e and f.

Note 1: The felling of a tree will be necessary only where it is dead, unsafe, or causing unacceptable harm to buildings or infrastructure. The Borough Council will seek to retain trees that are dead or dying where they contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and where they pose no harm to public safety or property.

Note 2: Protected trees are those within Conservation Areas or subject to Tree Preservation Orders.

Note 3: The legitimate felling of protected trees with TPOs will require replacement planting. The Council will determine the location, size and species of the replacement.

TREES AND DEVELOPMENT

16.20 Trees enhance development by softening the appearance of built structures and creating a sense of maturity.

16.21 Development sites often contain trees, which can be incorporated into development schemes. Such trees, together with new planting, can add economic as well as environmental value to development.

16.22 Section 197 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 states: ‘it shall be the duty of the local planning authority to ensure, whenever it is appropriate, that in granting planning permission for any development adequate provision is made by the imposition of conditions for the preservation or planting of trees.’

16.23 The Council will also seek possibilities for new planting, both in conjunction with development, and separately. Priority areas will include the Conservation Areas and the principal approach roads. The Council will also encourage the planting and replacement of trees on private land. The Borough Council has prepared a leaflet giving information and advice regarding trees on development sites. The leaflet provides guidance to developers on an appropriate approach to existing trees on and within the sphere of influence of a site, as well as planting, both in terms of species and contribution to urban design.

16.24 Whether trees are to be retained or planted in conjunction with new development, careful planning will be required at each stage until the development is complete, so as to avoid problems as the trees grow. The process must begin with a survey of existing trees and services in accordance with BS5837 (2012) ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction - Recommendations’ to provide a basis for deciding which trees might be suitable for retention. This must include not only trees within the site but any adjoining or overhanging trees which might be affected by the development.

16.25 In planning for the retention or planting of trees, the age, health, habitat and potential height and spread of each species should be taken into account. The positioning of trees or buildings in relation to each other should be carefully considered to ensure that a tree will not be harmed or require harmful pruning as it grows, or cause damage to buildings or services. The effect of trees on views, daylight and sunlight, and other influences and perceived nuisance must be considered, as well as benefits to buildings.

16.26 All planning applications, where applicable, must include details and methodology for tree protection from the commencement of development to completion, to ensure that trees are not damaged by construction work.

16.27 It is assumed that, unless there are overriding circumstances, new trees of appropriate species should be planted within a development site. Where this is not practicable (for instance because of the size or shape of a site or the disposition of underground services), the Council will encourage developers to fund the planting of trees close to the site. Where appropriate the Council will require developers to submit a detailed landscape assessment, including provision for new tree planting.

 

POLICY GI3: TREES AND DEVELOPMENTS


Development which would cause permanent damage to trees of high value (Note 1) will not be permitted.

The following may be required in conjunction with development:

a) the retention of existing trees (Note 2); and

b) the planting of new trees (Note 3); and

c) measures adequate to ensure the protection of trees during construction works.

This policy contributes towards achieving the Cheltenham Plan Vision: Theme C – objectives a, b and e.

Note 1: ‘High value’ means a sound and healthy tree with at least 10 years of safe and useful life remaining, which makes a significant contribution to the character or appearance of a site or locality.

Note 2: The preservation and planting of trees in conjunction with development should take account of the guidance in British Standard 5837 (2012).

Note 3: Where appropriate, the Council will seek agreement from developers for the planting of new trees offsite.