Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19

Amenity Green Space and Equipped Play Areas

12.9 Thanet's three main coastal towns each have a 'flagship' playground, as well as other standard playgrounds. There are currently also five skate parks in Thanet.

12.10 The cumulative impact of smaller housing developments and population increase will put pressure upon existing amenity green spaces and existing play facilities. With the drive to provide more housing on brownfield land in urban areas, whether it is new build or conversion, 'smaller' sites are likely to be developed. New family housing should provide gardens to ensure the provision of "doorstep" playspace. High quality areas of amenity space and children's play areas will contribute to quality of life and help social interaction.

12.11 Children's playspace should be adequately equipped and safely and conveniently available to all new residential developments of a size and type likely to meet the new demand. The location of facilities should, however, take into account the potential impact of noise and other disturbance on neighbouring properties. In addition to play space for younger children, facilities for teenagers should also be considered. New development will be expected to make provision for amenity green space and equipped play areas in line with the Fields in Trust guidelines as set out in tables 10, 11 and 12 and the approach set out in chapter 4. Provision will also need to be made for the continued maintenance of such facilities.

12.12 The provision of open spaces should be considered at an early stage in the design process and consider:

  • accessibility in terms of highway safety and proximity to dwellings served
  • security of children using amenity space and play areas (including whether the site and access to it is overlooked by dwellings) and
  • Convenience of siting in relation to noise sensitive development (e.g. dwelling units designed for, or particularly suited to, occupation by the elderly).
  • Making provision for biodiversity through appropriate landscaping schemes
  • Addressing climate change for example, considering the effects of extreme temperatures through the provision of shaded areas by planting trees

12.13 The Planning Obligations & Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) gives details of how financial contributions can be made towards the upkeep and maintenance of existing play areas if on site provision is not possible. The SPD will be subject to review if the Council implements the Community Infrastructure Levy. The following policy seeks to ensure the recommended provision of amenity and children's play space is provided for.

Policy GI04 - Amenity Green Space and Equipped Play Areas

New residential development will make provision for appropriate amenity green space and equipped play areas to meet the standards set in tables 10, 11 and 12. The type and amount of open space to be provided will depend on:

  1. The size and location of the development,
  2. Existing open space provision near the development site, and
  3. The number of people likely to live in the proposed development.

New family dwellings* will be expected to incorporate garden space in order to provide a safe "doorstep"** play area for young children.

In exceptional circumstances where it would be impractical to provide adequate and suitably located playspace as part of the development, then a financial contribution may instead be acceptable to offset the costs resulting from the additional use and need for increased maintenance and play equipment at suitably located existing playspaces and amenity areas.

The developer will be responsible for the funding and arrangement of the ongoing maintenance and management of amenity and play areas which will be secured through a legal agreement.

*Family dwellings are considered to be those having two or more bedrooms.

** Doorstep playspace is defined as playspace for young children which is immediately adjacent to, closely visible and safely accessible from the dwellings served.