We are sharing our Local Green Spaces Assessment with you in draft so that you can add your comments.
Responses to community consultation including the Neighbourhood Plan household survey identified important open green spaces within the parish. There are only a limited number of sites and they are important for a number of sometimes overlapping reasons.
Public open spaces within and close to the built up areas of Goat Lees and Boughton Lees are important to local amenity, the heritage and/or character of the area as well as providing opportunities for leisure in the parish and are to be protected in the Neighbourhood Plan.
Away from the defined built up areas there are two local green spaces at the hamlets of Boughton Aluph and Eastwell which provide the setting to listed churches as well as tranquil informal recreation spaces and these too are to be protected in the Neighbourhood Plan.
The wider countryside outside the defined built up area boundaries contains a large number of other open spaces which are accessed by the extensive network of footpaths in the parish, e.g. King’s Wood (876.59 ha). These are defined as part of the countryside where priority is already given to preservation and enhancement, in particular those located within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which covers most of the parish of Boughton Aluph and Eastwell.
Local Green Spaces
Through Neighbourhood Plans, local communities are able to identify for special protection green areas of particular importance to them. By designating land as Local Green Space local communities are able to rule out new development other than in very special circumstances. Local Green Spaces should only be designated when a plan is prepared and be capable of enduring beyond the end of the plan period.
In accordance with Government policy, the designation should only be used:
- where the green space is in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves;
- where the green area is demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value, tranquillity or richness of its wildlife; and
- where the green area concerned is local in character and is not an extensive tract of land.
Local policy for managing development within a Local Green Space should be consistent with policy for Green Belts. This means that the openness of the Local Green Space should be retained and that development will not be permitted during the plan period to 2030 and beyond except in very special circumstances.
Whilst Sandyacres Sports & Social Club, Sandyhurst Lane is considered important by the local community as open space important for its recreational and amenity value as well as its contribution to the character of the area and far reaching Important Views, it is designated as a Sports and Recreation Hub in Ashford Borough Council’s Open Space Strategy and the Ashford Local Plan. As, albeit limited, development may be required in association with the sports pitches (such as larger improved changing rooms), a Local Green Space designation which prevented development would not be appropriate. The Neighbourhood Plan designates this site as a Sports Hub which should be retained and enhanced for the provision of sports pitches.
A number of open spaces were identified as important to the parish during the course of public consultation at meetings held in community halls at Boughton Lees, Sandyhurst Lane and Goat Lees and in the Neighbourhood Plan household survey held in 2016.
The Steering Group undertook field surveys to assess the open spaces put forward.
Ashford Borough Council’s Open Space Strategy 2017
In drawing up the list of open green spaces in the parish, the Steering Group had regard to Ashford Borough Council’s Open Space Strategy 2017. Important Open Spaces referenced 1, 2, 5, and 6 in the table in paragraph 11 below feature in the Council’s strategy document. Sandyacres Sports & Social Club on Sandyhurst Lane is defined in the Strategy and emerging Ashford Borough Local Plan as a Sports and Recreation Hub.
The Open Space Strategy also identifies 5 and 6 as open spaces which contribute to the quantity of public open space in the Ashford Urban Area.
Criteria for defining an important open space
In selecting Local Green Spaces, the Steering Group ensured that all the spaces are:
- Public spaces, i.e. either a public open space or space to which the public has unfettered access such as a churchyard. Private spaces to which the public have no access or access under licence are to be excluded.
- In close proximity to the communities they serve.
- Special to the local community because of their:
- historic importance – important to the character of a Conservation Area or the curtilage of a historic or listed building or important to its setting.
- contribution to the character of an area – outside Conservation Areas, open spaces can play an important role in creating the distinctive character of an area.
- local visual or amenity value – a number of open spaces within a built up area have an important visual or amenity value.
- recreational value – a number of open spaces have recreational value whether as a village cricket square; local play space or for informal recreation (such as the areas of tranquillity of the churchyards of Boughton Aluph and Eastwell).
- wildlife value – St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Eastwell contains yew species, abundance of snowdrops in the early spring; lichens on the gravestones; mistletoe growing on the trees on the graveyard side. All Saints Churchyard, Church Lane, Boughton Aluph contains ancient yew species, lichens on the gravestones as well as other trees and grassland with overgrown verges.
Open spaces which meet these initial criteria were recorded and mapped as Local Green Spaces valued for one or more of the following reasons:
- Important to the character of the Conservation Area
- Important to the setting of a listed building
- Important to the character of the area outside a Conservation Area
- Important as a local visual amenity
- Important as a local recreational amenity.
- Important to local residents (survey and consultation evidence)
Local Green Spaces Assessment
The table below summarises all open spaces classified as Local Green Spaces and the reasons they have been designated using the categories listed in the methodology, e.g. a) important to the character of the Conservation Area.
Open Space Description
|1||The Village Green, Boughton Lees||a, b, d, e, g|
|2||All Saints Churchyard, Church Lane, Boughton Aluph||b, d, e, f, g|
|3||St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Eastwell||b, d, e, f, g|
|4||Green space in front of Eastwell Towers and adjoining flint wall, A251 Faversham Road||b, c, d|
|5||Children’s Play Area, Hurst Road, Goat Lees||c, e, g|
|6||Playing Field, Guernsey Way, Goat Lees||d, e,|
|7||Green space at junction of A251 Trinity Road, Jersey Close and Friesian Way, Goat Lees||c, d, e|
We have commissioned a set of maps to accompany the Local Green Spaces Assessment. These will be available here shortly. Temporary maps and photographs can be viewed in the following PDF document.
Quality of Open Space
In terms of the quality of open space, Ashford Borough Council’s Open Space Strategy 2017 defines the condition and design value of open space and play quality as follows:
|IOS Ref No.||Open Space||Open Space Quality Audit Rating||Open Space Condition Audit Rating||Play Area Quality Audit Rating|
|1||The Village Green, Boughton Lees||Very Good||Very Good||–|
|6||Goat Lees Play Area||Good||Good||Excellent|
Source: Ashford Borough Council Open Space Strategy 2017
Whilst the quality and distribution of open spaces within the parish is generally good, It will be important that the additional strategic housing sites allocated for development in the emerging Ashford Local Plan provide sufficient additional, high quality and well located open space to serve the residents of the new housing in order that existing open spaces do not become overused.
Let us know your views
Tell us what you think. If we have missed an important open space or we have got something wrong, please let us know. Add a comment in the box below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our aim is to create a strong evidence base to underpin the final Neighbourhood Plan document.