Objectives for PPG 17 as set out in the Urban White Paper:
Has the revised PPG 17 adequately met this objective?
How could the PPG be amended to better meet its objectives?
Give local authorities a clearer framework for assessing their need for open spaces
The PPG does contain guidance on needs assessment but the guidance is inadequate and local authorities fear that this would cause challenges to it at appeals or a Local Plan Inquiry.
Clearer guidance on needs assessment should be given and should be linked to the setting of local standards and the production of open space strategies.
Making good deficiencies
The PPG does ask that local authorities "determine the adequacy of provision in their areas" as part of their needs assessment but it does not make requirements for deficiencies to be made good.
Although the government has expressed doubts about the extent to which a planning document can meet these objectives, a requirement to produce open space strategies would help authorities to plan to make good deficiencies.
Protecting what is valued / ensuring that existing open spaces are protected from development where appropriate
The PPG contains no mechanism for assessing what is valued.
The PPG seeks to protect open space - but land exchange could have the reverse effect as it
might encourage development
on urban land and the
movement of open space to the urban fringe.
Inclusion of guidance about assessing value of existing space.
Greater clarity over land exchange policy.
Ensuring everyone has adequate access to open space.
Does make some provision for access in the planning of new facilities but this is not emphasised enough.
It is essential that accessibility is an integral part of any needs assessment. The PPG could lay down standards for accessibility and or at least ensure that these are built in to locally agreed standards.
That new open space be well designed.
Yes - there is mention of better design but it is not emphasised enough. The PPG refers
planners to their good practice guide on design, which has little to say about open spaces.
Further guidance on design should be given. In particular - there is requirement to "apply design criteria" but there is no specification of what these might be.