As a family living in the town centre, we regularly use so many of these spaces...
Thank you to all the people who completed the Local Green Spaces survey that ran during July 2022. We were able to gather useful feedback and insights from people on the green spaces that we are assessing for potential designation as we update the Calne Community Neighbourhood Plan.
There were 281 completed responses, and many people took the time to give detailed and thoughtful comments.
“Green space is vital for everyone, for their mental health, relaxation, exercise and pleasure. With the population of Calne increasing, these spaces are becoming precious resources and more important than ever. I enjoy walking in these green spaces with my husband and grandchildren. The flora and fauna of these spaces is a joy to see season by season and should be protected and valued.” (example quote from the survey). Green spaces are vital for healthy living. I support green spaces all around the world, moreover in our town. I believe we are shown in these soaring temperatures that green spaces are very important. (example quote from the survey)
Thanks again for people’s time and inputs into this. A full report of the survey will be shared by the start of September. Maps of the spaces being assessed can be seen at end of this blog post.
A few questions came up as we chatted to people about how we are looking at protecting green spaces. We’ve answered these below and we've added these to our Q&A pages.
What is Local Green Space designation?
Local Green Space designation is a way to provide special protection against development for green areas of particular importance to local communities.
This designation provides the same level of protection as Green Belt to areas of green space that are particularly valued by their local communities (for reasons of tranquility, recreation, wildlife value, beauty or history). Spaces valued on account of ‘a particular local significance’ are deemed suitable, as long as they are close to where people live and not ‘extensive tracts of land.
Does land need to be in public ownership?
No. National guidance makes it clear that a Local Green Space does not need to be in public ownership. The Council will contact site owners (if known) once a site is submitted, to inform them of the outcome of the assessment and if the site is proposed for designation within the Draft Local Plan in advance of consultation. Landowners will have opportunities to make representations to the proposed designation.
What does it mean if you own a space that might be designated as a Local Green Space in Calne or Calne Without?
Designation as a Local Green Space would give an area protection consistent with that in respect of Green Belt - where generally the aim is to protect the land from development. Otherwise there are no new restrictions or obligations on landowners. Landowners are being contacted as part of this process.
Who decides which areas will qualify for protection as Local Green Space?
The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, under the advice of the Plan consultants, Place Studio, will asses the sites to see if they meet criteria and take into account consultation responses to reach the designation decision. Examination of the Neighbourhood Plan will be the final screening and decision point for Local Green Space Designation. Local Green Space can only be designated when a Neighbourhood Plan is prepared, or reviewed, and will therefore need to be listed within such plans.
Isn’t Castlefields too big to be a Local Green Space? Government guidance states that there are no 'hard and fast rules about how big a Local Green Space can be because places are different and a degree of judgment will inevitably be needed'. Through research we have found examples of designated spaces that are around the same size (around 50 hectares) and one much larger (at around 220 hectares in Long Ashton Parish near Bristol). Further consideration is needed as to the appropriateness of this space for designation and the ways in which it is considered to meet the criteria. It will also be included in the plan in others ways to contribute to its protection as it is clearly such as valued space.
What happens next?
Now we've heard from the community, the Steering Group need to hear back from landowners and finalise assessment to arrive at a final set of spaces that will be proposed for designation in the updated Neighbourhood Plan. We hope to share those spaces back late this year or early in 2023.
 “Local Green Space: a tool for people and nature’s wellbeing” February 2022 available at: https://www.cpre.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Feb-2022_CPRE_Local-Green-Spaces-full-report-1.pdf [accessed July 2022)  https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2020-05/Long%20Ashton%20neighbourhood%20plan.pdf