Stratford-on-Avon District Council adopts new open space planning guidance

Press Release

Published on 22 April 2024
Archived on 22 May 2024

Stratford-on-Avon District Council's Full Council has today, Monday 22 April, formally adopted its revised Open Space Supplementary Planning Document following a public consultation, where all Public Open Space as part of new developments will now be adopted by either the local Town/Parish Council or by the District Council.

In November 2020, The Cabinet agreed to change the way the District Council approaches the management and maintenance of public open space.

This was in response to the growing amount of public open space provided in associated with new development and concerns raised by residents about:

  • Charges levied by the private management companies appointed by the developers to maintain the public open space which are not always made transparent at the time of purchase, can change every year and are unlimited.
  • The quality of the maintenance work carried out.

Also, where a Parish or Town Council decides not to take ownership of public open space, the District Council would generally take ownership of the land, with responsibility for ongoing maintenance. The option of passing maintenance responsibilities onto private management companies would no longer be included in Section 106 agreements.

Councillor George Cowcher, Development Portfolio Holder said: "There is widespread dissatisfaction in the District at the creation of Management Companies for public open spaces and particularly to the ability of Management Companies to charge uncapped charges to residents. Many regard this as paying double Council Tax."

This updated Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) clarifies public open space created as part of new development should be offered for adoption to (in order):

a) Parish Council or Town Council
b) Stratford-on-Avon District Council

The changes to Parts L of the Development Requirements SPD provides the District Council with the basis to fulfil its decision to secure high quality open space as part of new development, and where appropriate, acquire and maintain public open spaces.

Cllr Cowcher continued: "The decision to encourage Parish and Town Councils and failing that, the District Council, to adopt future open space is essential to ensure that there is harmonious future management of these areas. This also addresses a key objective of our Council Plan to increase and protect green spaces.  Only in exceptional circumstances should any public open space remain in the ownership of developers or their Management Companies."

The management and maintenance of adopted Public Open Space by the District Council will be covered by a 30-year commuted sum secured by a planning obligation (and captured in the associated Section 106 Legal Agreement). Beyond this period the cost of maintenance and repair will be the responsibility of the adopting Council.

  • The consultation ran for six weeks from 3 November to 16 December 2022.
  • The Development Requirements SPD provides advice and guidance to applicants when submitting planning applications on the interpretation of a number of policies in the District Council's Core Strategy.
  • Parts A-U, which cover a range of topics, have already been adopted by the District Council. The guidance relating to the provision of open space in new developments is set out in Part L of the Development Requirements SPD.

Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

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Last updated on 22/04/2024