This article explains how Muggeridge Field meets the requirements for Local Green Space (LGS) Designation.
The main criteria for designation as a Local Green Space is paragraph 100 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This says:
“The Local Green Space designation should only be used where the green space is:
a) in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves;
b) demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value (including as a playing field), tranquility or richness of its wildlife; and
c) local in character and is not an extensive tract of land.“
The assessment below shows how Muggeridge Field meets these criteria.
NPPF Paragraph 100a – in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves
Muggeridge Field is within a short walking distance of a densely populated area of Horsham via Arun Way and the public bridleway. It also provides a semi-rural setting for the residential areas adjoining the field.
NPPF Paragraph 100b – demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance
The fact that Muggeridge Field forms the eastern side of a hill gives it a particular local significance:
- From the public bridleway, people can enjoy a wonderful, panoramic view across the field and the countryside for miles beyond.
- People who live in residential areas around the field enjoy beautiful views of the field. The hill makes it visible from houses that are set back from the field, not just those that are on the field boundary. The field gives the surrounding area its semi-rural setting.
- People living further away to the south east of Horsham also benefit from the field because it screens the built up area of Horsham from them.
Muggeridge Field is an area of open grassland bound by hedges and trees. The openness provides wonderful views across the field, giving a sense of space. It is a beautiful piece of natural landscape that protrudes into the town.
Muggeridge Field is a very peaceful place that is free from traffic noise. Birdsong is usually the only sound that can be heard.
Natural grassland is a rare and important habitat which can support a huge variety of wildlife. Muggeridge Field is rich in wildlife. Recent sightings include deer, foxes, pheasants and badgers. Barn owls regularly fly over the field at dusk and dive to the ground to catch their prey. Nightingales have been heard and there are numerous other species of birds. Insects, including butterflies and moths, abound.
The bridleway is very popular with walkers but is also used by cyclists, runners and horse riders. On a sunny weekend day, it is not uncommon for over 400 people to visit the field.
If the field was built on they would still be able to use the bridleway but they would lose the pleasure that they gain from everything mentioned above: the views, the beautiful scenery, the tranquility and the wildlife. The recreational value is more to do with the benefits of being in a beautiful, tranquil, natural space than participation in a physical activity.
Muggeridge Field is within a short walking distance of densely populated residential areas. It is so important that people are able to walk to areas of tranquil, natural landscape like this.
Muggeridge Field is within the Chesworth House Medieval Moated Site Archaeological Notification Area.
NPPF Paragraph 100c – local in character and is not an extensive tract of land.
Muggeridge field is encapsulated by the town, with housing on the northern and eastern boundaries plus allotments and the public bridleway along the western boundary. Its position on the edge of the town is similar to the position of the Sports Ground in Cricket Field Road (D13), which has been included in the Horsham Blueprint Neighbourhood Plan for designation as a LGS.
The site covers an area of 4.1 hectares, so it is not an extensive tract of land. It is smaller than the Sports Ground in Cricket Field Road (D13) and similar in size to the Victory Road Recreation Ground (T5), both of which have been included in the Horsham Blueprint Neighbourhood Plan for designation as a LGS.
The Planning Practice Guidance.
Further guidance on the designation of Local Green Spaces is contained in the Government’s Planning Practice Guidance (PPG). The most relevant paragraphs are discussed below.
017 What about public access?
“Some areas that may be considered for designation as Local Green Space may already have largely unrestricted public access, though even in places like parks there may be some restrictions. However, other land could be considered for designation even if there is no public access (eg green areas which are valued because of their wildlife, historic significance and/or beauty).
Designation does not in itself confer any rights of public access over what exists at present. Any additional access would be a matter for separate negotiation with land owners, whose legal rights must be respected.
Paragraph: 017 Reference ID: 37-017-20140306“
This paragraph supports the designation of Muggeridge Field. There is a dispute over whether the public bridleway is in the site to be designated but, either way, this paragraph makes it clear that Muggeridge Field can still be designated as a LGS.
018 What about public rights of way?
“Areas that may be considered for designation as Local Green Space may be crossed by public rights of way. There is no need to designate linear corridors as Local Green Space simply to protect rights of way, which are already protected under other legislation.
Paragraph: 018 Reference ID: 37-018-20140306“
The reason for designating Muggeridge Field as a Local Green Space is stated above against NPPF Paragraph 100b. It should be clear from this that the reason isn’t to protect rights of way, which are already protected under other legislation. Therefore this paragraph doesn’t apply to Muggeridge Field.
Muggeridge Field has been assessed against all of the relevant paragraphs in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG). It has been found to satisfy all of the criteria in these paragraphs for Local Green Space designation.