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Chapter 13
Urban Greenspace and Recreation

G1

Protection of Urban Greenspace

G2

Improving Public Access to Urban Greenspace

G3

Urban Greenspace Systems

G4

Development Adjacent to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

G5

Protection of Recreational Open Space

G6

Built Recreational Facilities

G7

Strategic Paths for Countryside Recreation

G8

Countryside Recreation Areas

G9

Aintree Racecourse Recreational Area

 

Objectives

To protect and improve urban greenspaces within the urban area and ensure that the amenities urban greenspaces provide to local people are maintained.
To protect existing recreational open space and facilities from inappropriate development.
To protect and enhance the opportunities for countryside recreation in Sefton.

 

Indicators

13.1 Area (hectares) of accessible local recreational open space per 1,000 population available for:
- Pitch sports
- Non-pitch sports
- Children's play and informal use.

 

13.2 Change (additions and subtractions) to the total stock of urban greenspace, and to greenspace accessible to the public, as a result of development.

 

13.3 Net change in the amount of accessible recreational open space (including natural greenspace) as a result of development.

 

Key partners

British Waterways, Sport England.

 


Introduction
Urban Greenspace

13.1 Open spaces within the urban area of Sefton contribute to the quality of life of its local communities in many ways. They are a visual break in built-up areas, they can help to enhance the local environment, and provide opportunities for recreation and habitats for wildlife. The range of benefits that open space within the urban area can provide is set out in figure 13.1.

 

13.2 Open land within the urban area that is greater than 0.05ha in size and provides any of the benefits set out in figure 13.1 to a significant degree is designated as urban greenspace. These spaces are identified on the Proposals Map. Urban greenspace may have a number of uses: parks, sports grounds and allotments. It may also cover school sites and other institutions set in large grounds such as churches, cemeteries and hospitals. Urban greenspace may be in either public or private ownership. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is also an urban greenspace (except where it runs through the Green Belt) with its own particular character.

 

13.3 The aim of the Plan is to safeguard and enhance urban greenspace. Where appropriate the benefits provided by urban greenspace sites should be enhanced, for instance by improving public access to them. This will make a vital contribution to the wider objectives of sustainable development and urban regeneration, in view of the many different roles which open space fulfils. As more houses are built in the urban area the amenity value of urban greenspace in Sefton will become increasingly important.

 

Recreation

13.4 Another aim of the Plan is to protect previous recreational1 investment made within Sefton. Land that may be identified for future recreation investment in any strategy that the Council is committed to, for example through the Local Leisure Plan and Community Strategy, is also safeguarded.

 

13.5 Two types of land with either formal or informal recreational value are not designated as urban greenspace. These are sites within the urban area of less than 0.05ha and sites in the Green Belt. Their important contribution to the recreational resource of Sefton is protected through Policy G5 'Protection of Recreational Open Space'. This complements policy G1 'Protection of Urban Greenspace' as it provides the criteria against which the recreational value of urban greenspace will be assessed.

 

13.6 Built recreational facilities can also make an important contribution to the recreational resource of Sefton. Facilities that are required by the community will be protected through Policy G6 'Built Recreational Facilities'.

 

13.7 The countryside of Sefton provides opportunities to enjoy nature, escape from the urban environment and experience tranquillity. In recognition of this, parts of it have been designated as Countryside Recreation Areas. Existing cycle routes and footpaths form important links between the urban area and wider countryside and have been designated as strategic footpaths for countryside recreation.

 

Open Space and Recreation Study

13.8 The Council is in the process of carrying out an open space and recreation study which will:

 

13.9 The Council intend to complete the Study by the end of 2006. The Study will seek to meet the requirements of PPG17 – ‘Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation’ and will follow the guidance set out in the Companion Guide to PPG17 ‘Assessing Needs and Opportunities’. The Policy implications arising from this Study will be addressed through a Development Plan Document – ‘Greenspace and Development’.

 

New Public Greenspace and Recreation Facilities

13.10 Policy DQ4 ‘Public Greenspace and Development’ within Chapter 16 sets out how new public greenspace or contributions towards improving public greenspace will be secured. Section 2 of Policy G6 ‘Built Recreational Facilities’ sets out the criteria against which proposals for such facilities will be assessed.

 

Figure 13.1 The Benefits of Urban Greenspace

Trees

  • The contribution made by both individual trees and the level of tree cover is an important aspect of greenspace. They enhance visual amenity, offer wildlife value and act as a buffer. Their role may be relevant within each of the following criteria.

     

Visual Amenity

  • The views into and from the site, and the relationship of the site to adjacent or linked spaces, regardless of whether the site has public access.

     

  • What the site offers in terms of outlook, variety in the urban scene or as a positive element in the landscape.

     

Quality

  • The way a greenspace contributes to the appearance of the surrounding area or townscape in terms of landscape and design.

     

  • The contribution that plentiful and visually attractive greenspaces make to regeneration.
    Recreation and Wellbeing

     

  • The informal and formal recreational facilities that a site provides, or the potential of the site to provide these in the future to people of all ages.

     

  • The health benefits provided by greenspaces, including allotments.

     

  • The ability of urban greenspaces to act as green corridors that allow people to move through the urban area into the surrounding countryside.

     

Wildlife and Habitat Value

  • The habitats and wildlife provided on the site, including sites identified in habitat surveys of the North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan, as well as sites supporting protected species.

     

  • The value of sites containing natural areas which people have easy access to, and provide opportunities for public enjoyment and environmental education.

     

  • The potential to enhance or create habitat and to meet targets laid down in the North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan.

     

  • The ‘green corridor’ function provided by greenspaces that provides an opportunity for wildlife to move through the urban area.

     

Cultural and Community Resource

  • Where the site reflects a particular period of development, contains historic or archaeological remains or is identified as an area of search for remains.

     

  • Where the site has social importance within its neighbourhood e.g. site for community events or historical association.

     

Strategic functions

  • Openness – The open character provided by greenspace within the urban area and how it affects people’s perception of how built up an area is.

     

  • Buffer - This includes any feature within the site which provides a visual screen or shelter or helps to reduce noise e.g. belts of trees and boundary walls. It also refers to any buffer provided by a site to separate different land uses, including transport corridors.

     

Individual urban greenspace sites are designated whether they provide one, several or many of these benefits, rather than only when they provide all of them.

 


POLICY G1
PROTECTION OF URBAN GREENSPACE

  1. Development will not be permitted on urban greenspace except if it comprises any of the following special circumstances:

     

    1. environmental improvements designed to enhance the greenspace;

       

    2. minor development directly related to the existing use of the site;

       

    3. development of built recreational or community facilities for which there is a recreational need and where no alternative sites are available. Such development shall not result in:

       

      1. excessive loss of the open area; or

         

      2. the loss of formal or informal recreation facilities for which there is local need unless:

         

        • and equally convenient, area is provided as compensation; or

           

        • it is demonstrated that the need for the built facility is greater than the need to retain the site’s existing recreational use.

           

    4. where an equivalent area of new greenspace can be provided which has greater greenspace benefits and, is more convenient and publicly accessible than that being lost;

       

    5. where development on greenspaces with no public access results in the creation of new areas for public use as defined in Policy G2.

       

  2. Residential development will only be permitted where the housing land supply does not exceed the requirements set out in Policy H1 or where the circumstances set out in Policy H3 (2) and (4) apply.

     

  3. For development which complies with section 1 above, it must be demonstrated that:

     

    1. the need for the development outweighs the need to retain the urban greenspace;

       

    2. the benefits provided by the urban greenspace will be protected and enhanced.

       


Explanation

13.11 This policy aims to protect urban greenspace from inappropriate development that would erode the benefits it provides. The range of these benefits is set out in Figure 13.1. As some of the benefits provided by a greenspace rely on the way in which it is managed, the potential of the greenspace to provide additional benefits will also be considered.

 

13.12 Environmental improvements as referred to in 1(a) of the policy that enhance the benefits provided by the greenspace will be permitted. This would include the re-designing of greenspaces (e.g. with new planting, footpaths and play areas). Environmental improvements do not include new or replacement buildings, extensions to buildings, or car parks or access roads, even if it can be demonstrated that the visual appearance of a site could be improved.

 

13.13 In section 1(b) of the policy, minor development includes extensions to schools and hospitals, the provision of changing rooms or other small scale development, such as car parks or access roads, directly related to the current use. Such development may be allowed if the scale of the proposal is small compared to the scale of any existing buildings and other hard surfaces on the site. The potential extent of built up area in relation to open area will also be considered.

 

13.14 section 1(c) refers to recreational need. Paragraphs 13.46 to 13.49 in the explanation to Policy G5 ‘Protection of Recreational Open Space’ set out in more detail how to assess recreational need. Section 1(c) i says that development should not result in excessive loss of the open area. The amount of greenspace that should be left undeveloped will depend on:

 

13.15 In section 1(d) the requirement to provide greater greenspace benefits than the greenspace being lost means that the new greenspace should provide at least the same types of benefits (as set out in figure 13.1), and that they should be of a higher quality. The new greenspace should also be more convenient and publicly accessible, that is it should be available for the public to use and in a location which is at least as accessible to current and potential new users as the existing greenspace. The new greenspace should be equivalent to that being lost; this means at least the same in terms of size, usefulness, attractiveness and quality. This is also relevant to the first bullet point of part (c) ii of Section 1.

 

13.16 Developments that are not directly related to the existing use of the site may be permitted in principle under section 1(c) of the policy, under section 1(d) where an alternative site can be provided as compensation, or under section 1(e) where a substantial part of a site greenspace not accessible to the public will be made available for public use.

 

13.17 However, even if any of these requirements can be met, residential development will not be permitted if the housing land supply exceeds the requirements set out in Policy H1. This is unless the development meets the criteria set out in Policy H3, i.e. that :

 

13.18 In addition planning permission will only be granted for housing on greenfield sites and urban greenspaces where there is a sustained shortage in the housing land supply.

 

13.19 Where there are redundant buildings on the site, the proposed development should re-use these. It is the applicant’s responsibility to demonstrate why these may not be suitable for re-use. If it is agreed that existing buildings can be demolished and replaced with new buildings, rebuilding should not exceed the footprint2 of any existing buildings.

 

13.20 In considering whether the construction of replacement buildings on another part of the urban greenspace would be acceptable, the potential loss of benefits that would result will be weighed against the need for development in that particular location. Developers should indicate how former built up areas would be landscaped to provide urban greenspace benefits.

 

13.21 Where greenspace is part of a greenspace system, any development will be assessed in terms of its effect on the whole system and links between individual systems. Developers should demonstrate in their proposals that the benefits provided by the greenspace would be enhanced, for example, by improving physical or visual links. Policy G3 ‘Urban Greenspace Systems’ provides further guidance on this issue.

 

13.22 Further guidance on the provision of new public greenspace is set out in Policy DQ4 ‘Public Greenspace and Development’ and the Supplementary Planning Guidance Note of the same name.

 

Implementation

13.23 This policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability Appraisal

Policy changed to ensure that public access levels are maintained.

 

Policy Links

G2 Improving Public Access to Greenspace;
G3 Urban Greenspace Systems;
G5 Protection of Recreational Open Space;
DQ4 Public Greenspace and Development.

 

Background Documents

Green Spaces: Better Places, DLTR, 2002, Planning Policy Guidance Note 17: ‘Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation’, July 2002, ‘The Six Acre Standard: Minimum Standards for Outdoor Playing Space’, National Playing Fields Association, 2001.

 

POLICY G2
IMPROVING PUBLIC ACCESS TO URBAN GREENSPACE

  1. Development may be permitted on greenspace where there is no public access provided that a substantial percentage of the greenspace is made available for public use.

     

  2. Development will only be permitted if it is demonstrated that the effects of the development on the benefits provided by the greenspace can be offset and that overall the development responds positively to the character and form of its surroundings.

     

  3. Development which is acceptable in principle will only be permitted where:

     

    1. (a) the greenspace is publicly accessible and convenient;

       

    2. (b) there is a local need for recreational open space; and/or

       

    3. (c) there is a local need for nature space.

       

Procedures

  1. Comprehensive proposals shall be submitted for the whole of the greenspace.

     

  2. A statement shall accompany all proposals setting out how they help to meet local recreational demand or local biodiversity targets.

     

  3. Planning conditions and/or legal agreements will be used to ensure continued public access and, where the Council adopts such greenspace, to provide for its future maintenance and management.

     

 


Explanation

13.24 This Policy should be read in conjunction with Policy G1 ‘Protection of Urban Greenspace’. It amplifies section 1(e) of that policy. The policy criteria and principles set out in Policy G1 will also be applied to assess whether development proposals that provide public access to greenspace are acceptable.

 

13.25 In certain circumstances, the impact of developing on part of a greenspace can be offset by bringing into public use part of the area for recreational and/or nature conservation purposes for which there is a local need. This may result in an overall benefit to the local community. However, the lack of public access to recreation or nature space within a particular locality will not by itself justify development.

 

13.26 Not all the effects of development on greenspace benefits can be compensated for. Where this is the case planning permission will not be granted. For example, development would not be permitted on a site where the openness of the greenspace makes an important contribution to local character and townscape. Development will not be permitted if the proposal to develop and bring part of the site into public use does not relate well to the character and form of the surrounding area.

 

13.27 Where development is acceptable in principle, the amount of greenspace that should be left undeveloped and brought into public use will depend on:

 

13.28 Section 2 of the Policy refers to recreational need. Paragraphs 13.46 to 13.49 in the explanation to Policy G5 ‘Protection of Recreational Open Space’ set out in more detail how to assess recreational need. In considering local needs for nature space, ‘accessible nature space’ and the objectives of the North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan and the Mersey Forest Plan are relevant - paragraph 16.41 in Chapter 16 refers to these in more detail. Greenspace which is publicly accessible and convenient should be available for the public to use and should be in a location which is accessible to current and potential new users.

 

13.29 The publicly accessible greenspace which forms part of the proposal shall be in addition to that required by Policies G5 ‘Protection of Recreational Open Space’ and DQ4 ‘Public Greenspace and Development’.

 

Implementation

13.30 This policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability Appraisal

Policy changed to give a clearer framework for improving the quality of urban greenspace.

 

Policy Links

G1 Protection of Urban Greenspace;
G5 Protection of Recreation Open Space;
DQ4 Public Greenspace and Development.

 

Background Documents

North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan, Merseyside Biodiversity Group, 2001.

 

POLICY G3
URBAN GREENSPACE SYSTEMS

Development that would sever a physical or visual link between adjoining greenspaces will not be permitted.

 


Explanation

13.31 In many parts of Sefton, greenspaces occur in groups with physical or visual links between individual greenspaces. Physical links occur where two or more greenspaces are next to each other. There are visual links between these, and between greenspaces separated only by a road, rail line or other small areas of land. Where these groups occur, the overall benefit of a ‘system’ of greenspaces can be greater than the value of a series of individual greenspaces. Figure 13.2 shows the principal urban greenspace systems.

 

13.32 A physical or visual link may be severed by developing a connecting strip of greenspace, or through making changes along site boundaries (e.g. erecting walls) or through planting within sites.

 

13.33 There is not necessarily a direct relationship between the scale of a development and its potential effect on the greenspace system. Removal of one site from a group of greenspace sites could devalue the amenity of the whole system.

 

13.34 Particularly good examples of greenspace systems can be found in:

 

These are shown in figure 13.2.

 

Implementation

13.35 This policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability Appraisal

Policy changed to improve the definition of ‘links’.

 

Policy Links

G1 Protection of Urban Greenspace

 

Background documents

None.

 

Figure 13.2 Greenspace Systems

 

Figure 13.2 Greenspace Systems

POLICY G4
DEVELOPMENT ADJACENT TO THE LEEDS AND LIVERPOOL CANAL

Development adjacent to or on the Canal will be permitted providing that:

 

  1. the Canal’s function as a waterway is not affected;

     

  2. existing access to the towpath is retained or an alternative access is made to serve the same catchment area;

     

  3. new towpath access is provided as part of residential development schemes on sites adjacent to the towpath;

     

  4. it fronts onto the Canal, and its design and landscape respect the canalside location;

     

  5. the cultural heritage and industrial archaeology of the Canal are protected and enhanced, and;

     

  6. it protects and enhances the nature conservation and recreation value of the canal or land adjoining it.

     


Explanation

13.36 The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is designated as urban greenspace within the urban area. All of the amenity benefits of greenspace apply to the whole length of the Canal. The Canal is important culturally and historically. It also provides a refuge for wildlife. The towpath is used for informal recreation by anglers, walkers, cyclists and those of limited mobility. However, scope for water-based recreation other than angling is currently limited.

 

13.37 The Council is committed to the economic, social and environmental regeneration of the Canal and the land around it, and is working with other agencies to achieve this.

 

13.38 The protection of the Canal and towpath, and the enhancement of the Canal and its environment, will assist regeneration. Maintaining and increasing public use of the Canal and towpath is important because of its recreation value.

 

13.39 The Canal goes through the heart of the urban area in the south of the Borough and links it to the rural area. For this reason the towpath is designated as a Strategic Path for countryside recreation.

 

13.40 Protection of existing, and securing additional towpath access points, will ensure that canalside communities can enjoy the benefits of the Canal environment.

 

13.41 Maintaining the integrity of the Canal as a waterway includes retention of winding holes3, and basins as resting and turning points.

 

Implementation

13.42 This policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability Appraisal

Policy not changed as water pollution is covered by other regulations.

 

Policy Links

H9 Hawthorne Road/Canal Corridor
G7 Strategic Paths for Countryside Recreation.

 

Background documents

None.

 

POLICY G5
PROTECTION OF RECREATIONAL OPEN SPACE

  1. Planning permission will be refused for any development that would lead to the loss of open space that is used for recreational purposes or could meet a recreational need in the area.

     

  2. Exceptions may be made where either:

     

    1. (a) the proposed development is for facilities ancillary to the principal use of the site and the development will enhance the recreational function of the site; or

       

    2. (b) an equivalent, and equally convenient, area is provided before development begins.

       

Procedures

 

  1. A planning condition or legal agreement will be used to ensure that compensatory land required to satisfy 2(b) is provided.

     


Explanation

13.43 Outdoor recreational open space can enhance the quality of life for people of all ages. Such space can take a variety of forms ranging from formal team based sports such as football, bowling, tennis and rugby to informal recreational pursuits. These involve more spontaneous and sometimes quieter activities, such as cycling and walking.

 

13.44 Recreational space comprises not only urban greenspace but also open spaces with recreational value. These include open spaces:

 

Where the site is an urban greenspace this policy must be read in conjunction with Policy G1 ‘Protection of Urban Greenspace’.

 

13.45 The aim of this policy is to prevent any development which would result in the reduction of formal and informal recreational open space for which there is recreational need. Open space that has the potential to fulfil a defined need will also be protected by this policy.

 

13.46 In the absence of an up-to-date open space assessment developers may seek to demonstrate that recreational land is surplus to requirements before their proposal can be accepted in principle. They should consult the local community in order to show that their proposals are widely supported. Developers should also take into account proposals to enhance recreation provision that may be set out in strategies to which the Council are committed, such as through the Local Leisure Plans or Community Strategy.

 

13.47 Developers should use the standards set out in figure 13.3 to determine whether there is enough recreational open space to meet all informal and formal recreational needs in the area. For instance, in some areas there may be a surplus in one form of open space (for example, informal open space) but a shortage of another (for example, playing fields). In some cases it may be appropriate to use surplus recreational open space for another recreational purpose to reduce or eliminate any shortages.

 

13.48 The standards set out in figure 13.3 are based on the National Playing Field Association’s recommended 2.4 ha standard for the provision of formal recreation space and children’s play space provision. An additional 0.1ha has been added to the recommended standard for children’s play space provision to reflect the need for informal recreational open space for the population as a whole. The enhanced level of provision gives greater scope for good design.

 

13.49 To save delays in processing applications, developers should submit the assessment at the same time as any planning application for the re-development of a recreational open space.

 

13.50 If it is found that an open space is of value to the local community development will only be permitted if an equivalent and equally convenient open space can be provided as compensation. Equivalent means at least the same in terms of size, usefulness, attractiveness and quality. An equally convenient site should be available for the public to use and in a location which is at least as accessible to current and potential new users as the existing open space.

 

Figure 13.3
Standards for Recreation Provision in Sefton

Pitch Sports

 

1.2 ha per 1000 population

 

Non-pitch sports

 

0.4 ha per 1000 population

 

General Open Space provision (including children’s play space)

 

0.9 ha per 1000 population

 


Implementation

13.51 This policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability Appraisal

Policy not changed as it is considered inappropriate to protect recreational buildings associated with open space.

 

Policy Links

G1 ‘Protection of Urban Greenspace’

 

Background documents

Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 ‘ Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation’ 2002. The Six Acre Standard: Minimum Standards for Outdoor Playing Space, National Playing Fields Association, 2001; Sefton MBC Playing Pitch Demand Assessment, Sefton MBC, 1998.

 

POLICY G6
BUILT RECREATIONAL FACILITIES

Protection of Existing Facilities

 

  1. Planning permission will be refused for any development that would lead to the loss of built recreational facilities for which there is a recreational need.

     

  2. Exceptions will be made where an equivalent recreational facility is provided in an equally convenient location as compensation. Planning conditions or legal agreements will be used to ensure that this is provided.

     

Provision of new facilities

 

  1. New built recreation facilities will be permitted within Town, District or Local Centres.

     

  2. Where there are no suitable sites within a defined Centre new built recreation facilities will be permitted in out-of-centre locations where it can be demonstrated that:

     

    1. there is a recreational need for the facility; and

       

    2. they are accessible by a choice of travel, including by walking, cycling and public transport.

       


Explanation

Protection of existing facilities

13.52 Built recreational facilities, such as indoor sports courts and swimming pools, are a valuable community resource. Those facilities that are valued by the community and for which there is recreational need must be protected. Therefore, where development proposals could affect a built recreational facility, developers will need to demonstrate through a robust assessment of recreational needs that either

 

Developers will need to consult the local community to show that their proposals are widely supported. They should also take into account strategies relating to built provision to which the Council are committed, such as the Local Leisure or Community Strategy. The policy does not refer to clubhouses, small ancillary buildings or structures associated with open space uses.

 

13.53 If it is found that a built recreational facility is of value to the local community, development will only be permitted if an equivalent recreational facility is provided in an equally convenient location. Equivalent means at least the same in terms of size, usefulness, attractiveness, quality and public accessibility. An equally convenient location means one which is at least as accessible to current and potential users as that of the existing built recreational facility.

 

Provision of new facilities

13.54 Built recreational facilities have similar land use characteristics to retailing outlets. They make intensive use of land and attract large numbers of visitors. To reduce the number of car journeys, such facilities should be located within either Town, District or Local Centres. This will also help to sustain and enhance the vitality and viability of such centres.

 

13.55 First preference for locating new built recreational facilities should therefore be within a defined centre (i.e. town, district or local centre), followed by edge-of centre and finally out-of-centre locations accessible by a choice of travel, including by walking, cycling and public transport. Developers are required to demonstrate that they have followed this ‘sequential test’.

 

13.56 Where built recreational facilities are proposed outside a defined centre, developers will need to demonstrate that there is a need for the facility and that there are no suitable or viable sites within a better location in relation to the approach set out in the previous paragraph.

 

Implementation

13.57 The policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability Appraisal

No changes made, as location of facilities will be subject to paragraphs 13.55 and 13.56 above, and the future recreation study results.

 

Policy Links

None

 

Background documents

Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 ‘Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation’, 2002.

 


Countryside Recreation
Introduction

13.58 Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 ‘Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation’ recognises the importance of informal open spaces and green networks in meeting informal recreation needs of local residents. In Sefton, with its concentration of population within densely built-up urban areas, the role of the coast and the wider countryside in meeting recreational needs is particularly important. Indeed, the Sefton coast is a regional resource for informal and countryside recreation.

 

13.59 In recognition of this role key areas of the wider countryside have been designated as Countryside Recreation Areas.

 

13.60 Particular footpath and/or cycling routes form important links between the urban areas and the coast and countryside. These are designated as Strategic Paths for Countryside Recreation. Both the Countryside Recreation Areas and the Strategic Paths are shown on the Proposals Map and in figure 13.4.

 

13.61 Recreational use of the countryside and coast includes enjoyment of nature, escape from the urban environment and enjoyment of tranquillity. Walking and, to a lesser extent, cycling are the most common forms of recreation. Opportunities to enhance the linkages between the urban area, Strategic Paths and Countryside Recreation Areas will be encouraged.

 

POLICY G7
STRATEGIC PATHS FOR COUNTRYSIDE RECREATION

  1. The following have been identified on the Proposals Map as Strategic Paths, subject to detailed route alignments being satisfactory:

     

    1. Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath

       

    2. Trans Pennine Trail (including the Cheshire Lines Path)

       

    3. Coastal Path (Crosby to Crossens)

       

    4. Lydiate Hall to Hall Road, Crosby

       

    5. River Alt Path

       

    6. Rimrose Valley Paths

       

    7. New Opportunities Fund Path (Coastal Path to Trans Pennine Trail)

       

    8. Greenways

       

    9. Links to strategic cycle or walking routes in West Lancashire, Liverpool and Knowsley.

       

  2. Development that would make it difficult to establish or retain a Strategic Path will not be permitted unless provision is made for an acceptable alternative route.

     

  3. Development on or adjacent to a Strategic Path shall enhance the existing route or shall help implement the proposed route. A planning condition or legal agreement may be used to secure this.

     


Explanation

13.62 Strategic Paths are the key links for countryside recreation. All completed Paths can be used by walkers, many stretches are accessible to those of limited mobility, and on some Paths cycling is allowed. The Strategic Paths provide the linkages between:

 

 

Figure 13.4 Countryside Recreation

 

Figure 13.4 Countryside Recreation

Some of these paths are regionally or nationally important recreation routes, as well as being important for local people.

 

13.63 The policy aims to protect the routes of the Paths, and to promote their implementation and enhancement. The River Alt Path and some greenways and links to routes in West Lancashire, Knowsley and Liverpool have not yet had their routes finalised or implemented. Other routes are in place. Enhancements to the Strategic Paths should relate to the scale and location of the development being proposed. They may include sign-posting, new links, information boards or landscape enhancements.

 

13.64 Severance or potential severance of a route would be harmful and will not be permitted unless a satisfactory alternative route is agreed, and provided by the developer. It should be noted that a Strategic Path is not necessarily a public Right of Way. Public Rights of Way are recorded on a Definitive Map held by Sefton Council.
Implementation

 

13.65 This policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability appraisal

Policy not changed. Explanation changed to clarify position on new routes.

 

Policy Links

GBC2 Development in the Green Belt;
GBC6 Landscape Character.

 

Background documents

Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 ‘Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation’, ODPM, 2002; Greenway Strategy Draft For Consultation, Sefton Council, June 2002.

 

POLICY G8
COUNTRYSIDE RECREATION AREAS

  1. The following sites, as shown on the Proposals Map, are designated as Countryside Recreation Areas :

     

    1. Rimrose Valley, Crosby/Litherland

       

    2. Wango Lane, Aintree

       

    3. Sefton Meadows, Maghull

       

    4. Town Lane, Southport

       

  2. Planning permission will not be granted for development within or adjacent to a Countryside Recreation Area that would significantly harm:

     

    1. (a) existing or proposed informal recreational use or

       

    2. (b) public access to or within the Countryside Recreation Area or

       

    3. (c) the tranquillity and quiet enjoyment of the Countryside Recreation Area.

       

  3. Development within a Countryside Recreation Area shall enhance its informal recreational use. A planning condition or legal agreement may be used to secure this.

     


Explanation

13.66 The aim of the policy is to protect the informal recreation function of the countryside within existing or potential Countryside Recreation Areas and, where possible, enhance it. Such areas will provide informal countryside-based recreation for people in Sefton or who live nearby. This includes opportunities both for enjoying nature and for environmental education.

 

13.67 Whether harm is significant will depend on the combination of the size of the impact and the value of the resource being affected. The need to avoid harm to nature is also important. The Town Lane, Sefton Meadows and Wango Lane Countryside Recreation Areas are also within the Town Lane and the Alt and Rimrose Valleys Landscape Renewal Areas.

 

13.68 Enhancements to the Countryside Recreation Areas should relate to the scale and location of the development being proposed. They may include new visitor facilities (for example picnic tables and areas) information boards, landscape enhancements or other measures which help people to enjoy countryside recreation.

 

13.69 Designation as Countryside Recreation Areas reflects existing land uses, existing public access and/or past investment in countryside recreation facilities and environmental improvements. Part of the Wango Lane Countryside Recreation Area does not fully satisfy the above criteria at present. However there have been past initiatives to implement environmental improvements and secure public access to the site and it is considered to be a key part of the wider Wango Lane Countryside Recreation Area.
Implementation

 

13.70 This policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability appraisal

Policy not changed to refer to importance of nature, as Chapter 11 policies deal with this.

 

Policy Links:

GBC6 Landscape Character;
GBC9 Landscape Renewal Areas.

 

Background documents

Planning Policy Guidance Note17 ‘Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation’, ODPM, 2002.

 

POLICY G9
AINTREE RACECOURSE RECREATIONAL AREA

  1. Within the part of Aintree Racecourse Recreational Area which lies within the Green Belt, as defined on the Proposals Map, planning permission will not be granted for any development that would significantly harm existing or potential outdoor recreational uses in the area.

     

  2. In the remainder of the Aintree Racecourse Recreational Area, as defined on the Proposals Map, built development which enhances the recreational and tourism functions of the Racecourse Recreational Area will be permitted.

     


Explanation

13.71 Aintree Racecourse is a unique and valuable national recreational and tourism resource that attracts many visitors. The majority of the site is within the Green Belt.

 

13.72 It is important that development does not harm existing or potential outdoor recreation uses in the area of the Racecourse within the Green Belt, due to the special character and function of the Racecourse. This is in addition to the restrictions on development within the Green Belt. How significant harm is depends on the combination of the size of the impact and the value of the recreational resource.

 

13.73 In the area of the Racecourse which is outside the Green Belt (i.e. the Ormskirk Road frontage), there are opportunities for development related to tourism or recreation, such as hotel and conference facilities.

 

Implementation

13.74 This policy will be implemented through the development control process.

 

Sustainability appraisal

Paragraph 1 of policy strengthened to clarify type of recreation.

 

Policy Links

GBC2 Development in the Green Belt;
G5 Protection of Recreational Open Space.

 

Background documents

None.

 


1 Recreation in this chapter encompasses both formal recreational facilities, such as playing pitches and bowling greens, and informal provision, such as footpaths, cycle ways, children’s play space and general areas for relaxation and contact with nature.

 

2 The ground area covered by an existing building.

 

3 A place where a canal widens out to allow boats or barges to turn around.

 

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