It is widely recognised that the provision of high quality open space promotes an area as an attractive place to live, and results in a number of wider benefits. National Planning Practice Guidance states that: “Open space should be taken into account in planning for new development and considering proposals that may affect existing open space.”

Local Authorities are required to have an up-to-date evidence base demonstrating the needs and deficiencies in open space to inform their Local Plans. They need to assess their quantity, quality, value and accessibility to guide enhancement and inform decision-making for spatial planning future growth and regeneration.

We have an excellent understanding of Government policy and guidance in relation to Open Space and Green Infrastructure, and considerable experience of undertaking Open Space Assessments. These include for the London Boroughs of Redbridge, Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Islington, Hart District Council, Rushmoor Borough Council, Harlow District Council, South Bucks District Council, Medway District and the City of Westminster.

Whilst adhering to recognised guidance, we tailor our approach to the unique challenges of each Local Authority. Our approach includes desk-based assessment and field survey as well as online public consultation and targeted stakeholder consultation to gain a full appreciation of the issues and opportunities in relation to open space.

Our in-house GIS team collect and present the data for open space audits to ensure high-quality output and a streamlined and cost effective approach. They use tablets and bespoke databases to collect and analyse large volumes of data.

Our client Alex Robinson, planning policy officer at Harlow Council, said, “LUC has provided a strong framework and supporting evidence base, within which we hope to create new sustainable communities and well-planned growth.” Our Harlow study received a 2013 Landscape Institute Award.

For expert analysis, guidance and landscape planning in your area, please contact Philip Smith or Emma Luke.