One of Poole Council’s corporate priorities is the protection of the environment and open spaces. The Core Strategy, Poole’s key planning document sets out very high ideals: “to respect the urban greenspace/greenspace network and provide for its protection and where appropriate contribute to its expansion.” Broadstone’s Neighbourhood Forum has recognised the importance of such aims and has embodied them in its draft open/green space policies. Our initial Regulation 14 consultation resulted in over 95% of respondents supporting improved protection and enhancement of all the area’s open/green spaces and green corridors. It is therefore of prime importance to know what exists where and to identify those which could benefit from improvement.
In carrying out a field survey, a desk top study and a consultation exercise with both the Council and various residents groups, we have identified a number of open spaces within Broadstone that are in council ownership but have not been recorded as open spaces. In one instance, legal documents from 1978 confirm they are indeed public open spaces and should be indicated as such on all relevant maps. The Forum has already updated the appropriate maps for inclusion within the Plan. It has also informed the Council’s Strategic Planning Department of the findings and recommended changes to the council’s own documents. In addition it is has created an inventory of all the open and green spaces within its boundary. Whilst Broadstone is fortunate to have significant areas of woodland, heathland, district parks and recreation grounds it actually has less than the Borough’s stated minimum standard of urban amenity and informal play space. Such land should be available to a local community within 300 metres or 5 minutes walking distance. The Lytchett Drive informal play area is an excellent example that is highly valued by residents as it contributes significantly to their well-being as well as fostering a great community spirit. Informal football and cricket matches, family picnics and street parties contribute to the well-being of all the residents.
With the pressure on land for housing – Broadstone’s housing needs assessment suggested around 750 new homes would be needed over the lifetime of the plan (2011 -2030) – any undesignated land is likely to be targeted. Since Broadstone is underprovided with informal play areas like the one in Lytchett Drive, it is vital to protect what does exist. If we don’t, then those spaces will disappear and everyone’s quality of life will be the poorer. With our policies in place, all open spaces identified, mapped and listed, the Neighbourhood Plan provides a level of protection comparable to that given to green belt land. As for the housing, we will have to be prepared to be a little more radical, and judging by the responses to our draft policies, that should be possible.
Diary Date: Broadstone Neighbourhood Forum Annual General Meeting: Thursday 31st March – 7.30pm, St. John’s Church Hall, Macaulay Road. Presentation of the Draft Plan and Aspirations for the Village Centre, including St.John’s Church.