THE Campaign for the Protection of Rural England is highlighting a little known provision designed specifically to protect the pockets of nature most valued by local people.
It’s contained within the National Planning Policy Framework and the CPRE’s action comes as local residents battle to save precious woodland between Winyates Green and Mappleborough Green and land off Dagnell End Road from developers, not to mention those battling to save Ipsley Meadow from being turned into a cemetery.
The CPRE says: “A little known yet hugely powerful rule allows local communities to ringfence their recreation grounds, community gardens, fields popular with dog walkers and other locally valued green spaces from development.
“And yet this provision – contained within the National Planning Policy Framework and designed specifically to protect the pockets of nature most valued by local people – is, curiously, close to unknown.”
As a result the CPRE, the countryside charity, is calling on the government to encourage all local authorities to promote the use of the Local Green Space designation as widely as possible.
It says: “It is a unique clause in planning rules that empowers local people to apply national park-style protection from development to their most valued local green spaces.”
Local Green Spaces are small parcels of land, close to where people live, that are demonstrably special to their community, for reasons that can include their beauty, historical significance, recreational value, tranquillity or richness of wildlife.
“This is a solution to levelling up that has been hiding in plain sight; a planning superpower in the hands of ordinary people,” said Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE.
“All that people have to prove is they use and value the land for it to be eligible to be protected like it’s a national park.”