The NDP: Important Protection for our Green Spaces

Neighbourhood Plans were conceived by central government to encourage local input to the planning process.They enable communities to set planning policies for the local area, including allocating sites for development. But NDPs go beyond a simple blueprint for housing, they also provide the opportunity for communities to identify and protect important local green spaces.

In urban areas such as London or Birmingham, identifying and protecting green space is an essential way of preserving and improving the quality of life for local people. Here in Benenden, with our beautiful countryside and many quiet footpaths, the need to identify and preserve local green spaces may seem less apparent, but in fact, listing local spaces and providing protection for them is an aspect of our NDP that the six volunteers of the Landscape & Environment Committee took seriously from the start.

National guidelines do not allow NDP groups to set up a massive green barrier across the parish as a protection from development. Local Green Spaces must be properly assessed, and they must meet national guidelines. Local Green Spaces need to be small, not an extensive tract of land, and they need to be a space valued by the community, either as an amenity for local residents, such as a tranquil area of peace and calm, or a space for recreation and exercise, or to preserve biodiversity.

With your help during the build-up of the plan we identified, assessed, and allocated 11 Local Green Spaces. Some favourite spaces are already protected, such as the historic parkland at Benenden School and the village green, and do not need further protection from development, but once the NDP is finally approved at referendum, it will provide further protection for sites dotted around the parish and will help to support local wildlife.

So where are the sites? Here is the list, taken from Policy LE2 of our NDP:

  1. East End – Old Cricket Pitch;
  2. East End – Corner green at junction of
    Goddards Green Road and Walkhurst Road;
  3. New Pond Road – Catholic Chapel Field
  4. The pond at Benenden crossroads – New
    Pond Corner
  5. Central green area, Cherryfields
  6. Glebe Field/Playing Fields
  7. Benenden Recreation Ground
  8. Beadle Platt beside St George’s Church
  9. St George’s churchyard
  10. Beacon Field by the Primary School
  11. Iden Green Recreation Ground

Charles Pope
NDP Steering Committee Member