Public open space strategy guide for local governments.
It is important to ask the question, “why have a public open space strategy?”. The strategy should have strategic importance for the local government and its community and it should contribute toward the vision and goals that have been set
at a district level.
The scope of the strategy needs to be considered as part of the initial planning phase when the local government decides to develop a public open space strategy.
Consider the following opportunities and be clear about what the public open space strategy is setting out to achieve:
A public open space strategy should include:
With respect to what the strategy should cover, there are a number of definitional issues that should be clarified so that everyone has a clear understanding of what is in scope and how it is to be classified.
The strategy should consider all public open space within the local government area. It should also consider the relationship between public open space in its district and that within neighbouring local governments and spaces that operate on a regional
Public open space is strictly defined as land provided as 10 percent of the gross subdivisible area, given up free of cost during subdivision and vested in the Crown occurs under the provisions of Section 152 of the Planning and Development Act 2005.
The 10% public open space contribution, applies to all urban areas for residential purposes across the State including all regional areas outside the Perth metropolitan area.
Land for public purposes including foreshore reserves (SPP 2.6 and SPP2.10), community purpose sites, verges, national and regional parks, and private open space all contribute to the network of spaces providing sport, recreation and nature opportunities
At a functional level, the department provide a classification framework for public open space (Table 5). This provides for three functions:
The framework applies to open spaces where community activity is encouraged and explicitly managed. See 2.4.1
“Public open space refers to urban green spaces: parklands, play areas, playing fields, bushland, greenways and other similar spaces people use for recreation, sport and social interaction.” Classification Framework for Public Open Space
“Public open space includes all land reserved for green space and natural environments including parks, reserves and bushland which can be all be used for recreation by the general public at no cost.” Dr Paula Hooper (PhD full thesis pg144)
“Public open space refers to publicly accessible land set aside for sport, recreation and community purposes and may include parklands, sporting fields, playgrounds, bushland and built areas such as civic squares, plazas or skate parks.” Parks
and Leisure Australia Position paper – Public Open Space Planning in Western Australia (2010)
The scale of the strategy should also be considered. This should include within the local government area, between neighbouring local governments and at sub regional and regional scales. Opportunities to partner with others in the development and/or implementation
of the strategy should also be considered. Partners could include neighbouring local governments, other government agencies, the community, not for profit groups, and the private sector. In any event, a public open space strategy will need to positively
relate to any vision, policy and direction provided at a State Government level.
How far into the future is this document designed to reach and when is it due for review? The timescale of the public open space strategy should align with, or bring itself into line with the timescale of council’s suite of relevant strategies and
policies to ensure it is integrated into the review process.
Local governments are required to produce key strategic documents to produce key documents, such as the 10 year community strategic plan supported by a four year corporate plan, that reflect the long term vision for the district and can frame the direction
of a public open space strategy. At a corporate level these plans also provide the framework for implementation. It is essential that any local government strategy, including the public open space strategy is integrated into, and informs, all relevant
local government activities.
The strategy needs to be integrated with other council documents. The vision of the public open space strategy should align with the council’s strategic community plan and its local planning strategy. It is important to identify all local
government plans and activities that may influence or be influenced by a public open space strategy. Potential areas of overlap or conflict should be documented.
A decision should also be made on whether the strategy should be a stand-alone strategy that becomes part of a suite of strategic documents including things such as a housing strategy, economic development strategy and environment strategy. The relevant
strategies and priorities would then be captured in the council’s strategic community plan, budget, local planning strategy and other key council documents.
An alternate approach would be to review key documents to embed public open space strategies and priorities in each of them. It would still be necessary to go through a process to establish these strategies and priorities but there would not be a stand-alone
It is essential that the priorities from the strategy be imbedded in all relevant corporate and statutory planning documents, for example:
An understanding of the local planning system, the tools available within it and how they relate to the State planning framework will assist with the development of a public open space strategy as it will set the parameters for what is possible and how
it may be achieved.
Planning regulation allows for the development and implementation of a number of local planning tools (some statutory and some not) including (but not limited to) the following:
*depending on the provisions of the relevant local planning scheme, could be either statutory or non-statutory.
These local planning tools are the key method of implementing the strategy in relation to land development processes and can assist in guiding development of a local government public open space strategy.
Integrating with strategies and policies
Step 3 – audit of existing public open space
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