Open Space in New Developments Supplementary Planning Document (January 2009)

If you are having trouble using the system, please try our help guide.



1.1. This South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) forms part of the South Cambridgeshire Local Development Framework (LDF)1.

1.2. The SPD expands on open space policies in the Development Control Policies Development Plan Document (DPD), adopted in July 2007, and provides additional details on how they will be implemented. Policies seek to ensure that provision of open space is addressed comprehensively to meet the needs of all new developments.  Where provision cannot be made on site, off site contributions are now sought to enable improvements to the quantity and quality of facilities in the locality.  The SPD includes standard charges indicating the level of contribution likely to be sought by the Local Planning Authority, as indicated by Planning Circular 05/05 Planning Obligations.

1.3. The policy builds on Planning Policy Guidance 17: Sport and Recreation (PPG17) and the more recent Planning Circular 05/05 to provide a balanced and fair approach which ensures that people moving into new housing developments are properly catered for, without a negative impact on existing community spaces and facilities. Such provision improves the health and well-being of the whole community, makes a substantial contribution towards community sustainability and provides important focal points for community activity and infrastructure.

1.4. Open spaces will not be peripheral to the development as a whole but will be fully integrated into the design. In particular, children’s play areas will be provided where they are very accessible and visible and in locations to maximise community benefit rather than utilising areas left over after planning and areas unsuitable for other uses.

1.5. This Supplementary Planning Document applies across the District, although there are a number of Area Action Plans for major developments that contain specific policies on open space that vary from the district wide policy.

1.6. Area Action Plans that address sites on the edge of Cambridge (Cambridge East AAP, Cambridge Southern Fringe AAP, North West Cambridge AAP) utilise the Cambridge City Council Open Space standards. The standards and costs included in chapter 2 of this document therefore do not apply to these areas.


1.7. The objective of this SPD is to assist achievement of the Development Control Policies DPD objective SF/h: to ensure the proper provision and maintenance of open space and sports facilities consistent with levels of planned residential development and identified open space standards.

1.8. Specific objectives for this document are to:

  • Assist applicants gain planning permission quickly by informing them of what contributions are required and why, as well as how provision and payments should be made;

  • Ensure that Parish Councils and / or the local community are involved in decisions that affect public open space provisions within new developments;

  • Ensure that new facilities provided are appropriately designed to maximise amenity;

  • Ensure that facilities provided are properly managed and maintained for maximum community benefit.


1.9. Open space requirements from new developments are detailed in the following policy in the Development Control Policies DPD.

POLICY SF/10 Outdoor Play Space, Informal Open Space and New Developments

  1. All residential developments will be required to contribute towards Outdoor Playing Space (including children’s play space and formal outdoor sports facilities) and Informal Open Space to meet the additional need generated by the development in accordance with the standards in Policy SF/11.

  2. Only family dwellings of two or more bedrooms will be required to contribute to the provision of Children’s Play Space. Sheltered dwellings and residential homes will not be required to provide Outdoor Play Space.

  3. Where appropriate, provision will involve all or some types of space within the development site. However, an appropriate contribution will be required for “off-site” provision of the types of space not provided on-site. This may be for new provision and / or improvements to existing facilities.

  4. In developments of less than 10 homes, it is expected that only Informal Open Space will be provided on-site. Where an individual phase comprises 10 or fewer dwellings, but will form part of a larger scheme exceeding that total, a proportional contribution to future on-site provision will be required.

  5. Depending on the nature of provision, contributions may also be required to meet maintenance and / or operating costs either as pump priming or in perpetuity.

  6. Where on-site provision is required, the Council may seek the option of a commuted capital sum to construct the facility. In these circumstances, a serviced site (as appropriate for the facility concerned) will be transferred to the Council free of charge by the developer.


1.10. Open space standards are detailed in Policy SF/11 of the Development Control Policies DPD.

1.11. The minimum quantitative standard for outdoor play space and informal open space is 2.8 hectares per 1000 people, comprising:

  1. Outdoor Sport – 1.6 hectares per 1,000 people

  2. Children’s Play Space – 0.8 hectares per 1,000 people

  3. Informal Open Space – 0.4 hectares per 1,000 people

(Definitions for each of these three elements are provided in Appendix 3.)

1.12. The starting point for the mix of Children’s Play Space will be 50% formal and 50% informal. A lower percentage of formal space may be acceptable if it can be demonstrated that provision of the LAPS / LEAPS / NEAPs hierarchy can be achieved appropriately with less than 50% formal provision.

1.13. Types of spaces considered not to contribute to the standard are listed in Appendix 4. Quality and accessibility standards are provided in Appendix 2 of this SPD.


1.14 In addition to the standards detailed above, informal open space provision will be encouraged as part of business park, retail and large-scale commercial developments; this is for the benefit and well being of the workforce and also visitors to the site.  Any spaces provided should have regard to the nature and location of the development.

1 Note - this SPD is referred to as ‘Recreation and Community SPD’ in the Council’s approved Local Development Scheme (July 2007)
If you are having trouble using the system, please try our help guide.
back to top back to top