37. Development plans have a key role to play in protecting and promoting high quality open space. Development plans should safeguard important open spaces from development in the long term and identify spaces that require significant improvement. In some cases, it may be better value to promote a consolidated high quality network of open spaces, rather than a more extensive pattern of spaces where management and maintenance of many areas are neglected. Open space networks can be identified on the local development plan proposals map. Where existing or proposed open space networks are integral to the spatial strategy of a city region, there may be merit in highlighting the network in the strategic development plan.
38. Plans should indicate the circumstances in which new green or civic spaces will be required as part of new developments. Requirements may differ across the plan area, depending on the circumstances of each community. The plan can set out the various circumstances in which developers will be required to:
- provide on-site spaces, and if so, the type(s) and amounts they must provide and the amount of any commuted payments for maintenance; or
- contribute to off-site open space, and if so, the types and amounts required as a basis for determining the level of their cash contributions.
39. The local or strategic development plan may also point to supplementary guidance that can be used to promote good design, for example through urban design frameworks, development briefs, master plans and design guides. Briefs and master plans can identify the type and quality of open space required on a development site and how it should be integrated within the wider network, and highlight specific criteria such as maintenance requirements or access for disabled people. Supplementary guidance can also be used to set out local standards for open space provision in greater detail.
Master Plan for Ardler, Dundee
The Ardler Village regeneration project has involved the demolition of almost all of the original 3,160 council rented flats and their replacement with 1079 mixed tenure homes. An estate that was dominated by unpopular tower blocks and vast swathes of under used open space has been transformed into a desirable place to live.
Key to the success of the regeneration was the masterplan that set out a 'Vision for Ardler'. Developed in partnership with the local community, the masterplan considered the layout of the area and its position in the wider context of Dundee. It embraced the design of buildings, the open spaces that surround them, the infrastructure that supports the area and the local community. It went beyond making buildings and parks, to making better places. The principles used in planning the open space were drawn from Dundee City Council's Public Open Space Strategy.
As the final phase of the regeneration project nears completion, the local community continues to be closely involved in local greenspace issues, enabled by an Urban Ranger. Initiatives include:
- Engaging with the community to promote enjoyment of local greenspace and involvement in its management.
- Working with school children on greenspace ownership activities including litter picking, wildflower planting at the SUDS ponds and using outings to greenspace as part of lessons.
- Promoting civic pride through local gardening competitions - successfully entering Ardler in the Beautiful Scotland in Bloom competition, and assisting with gardening knowledge and skills through advice and free tool share schemes.
- Supporting the Ardler Environment Group to undertake environmental improvements, including the creation of an award winning community garden.
The Demonstrating the Link project is an excellent example of ongoing local community involvement in greenspace issues. It is a community led audit of greenspaces in Ardler involving the identification of 400 definable areas. Three land types (grassed, planted and wild) have been established and a 5 point system devised to score the quality of each. Local volunteers have been trained and are carrying out 2 surveys each year. Information is fed into a GIS System to give a simple display of the quality of Ardler's greenspace. The information is then fed to land managers and owners to assist in greenspace management, in an effort to eventually colour the map "green", the best score. The project has also involved a survey of residents to ascertain qualitative and quantitative information about perceptions and aspirations for their greenspace.