The Open Space Strategy has been produced to detail how Ashford Borough Council (ABC), in partnership with a range of organisations, plans to protect, enhance and provide public open spaces to 2030.
The strategy was undertaken in 2017, and provides a number of key strategic recommendations. The strategy updates the previous Open Space Study adopted in 2008.
Open space is defined as public open space which provides generally unlimited free public access; genuinely useable open space for people; and accessibility over the great majority of the open space.
This strategy does not include open space which is provided as private or paid for provision, e.g. playing fields within school grounds, golf courses and private estate gardens. It also does not include incidental areas, such as verges or streets or areas of land with the sole purpose of protection of wildlife without public access.
The strategy identifies strategic recommendations to be adopted by the council and its partners to ensure there are agreed priorities to meet current and projected demand. These recommendations focus on:
The overall proposals focus on ensuring that any current or projected shortfalls in open space provision are prioritised during the life of the emerging Local Plan.
The strategy deliberately separates the urban and rural areas of the borough, to allow for the different contexts and pressures of development. The strategy also details key issues for the urban and rural areas which are considered and addressed within the strategic recommendations.
As identified in the draft Local Plan, the strategy proposes the development of a "hub approach" for the borough. This will enable the council and its partners to maximise any capital or revenue funding that becomes available; it will also ensure residents have access to suitable facilities within an acceptable travel time.