Development Management Policies Consultation Draft

Ended on the 7th September 2017
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(2) Introduction

5.1 These policies aim to enhance and, wherever possible, retain the district's recreational, sporting, cultural and community facilities and services which contribute towards improving the health and lifestyles of residents.

5.2 There is also a policy to support the provision of public art to maintain Harlow's status as a Sculpture Town and to improve the environmental and cultural quality of the district.

5.3 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the following Corporate Priority:

  • Wellbeing and Social Inclusion

5.4 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the following Local Plan Strategic Objective:

  • Objective 11 – To provide and enhance sporting, leisure, recreational facilities and cultural opportunities in the district

(1) L1 Open Spaces, Play Areas and Sporting Provision and
Facilities in Major Development

In major development, public open space, allotments, play space and sporting provision and facilities are to be required, together with their management and maintenance.


5.5 National policies and guidance place emphasis on the important contribution that high quality open spaces can make to the health and well-being of communities.

5.6 One of the fundamental aims of Sir Frederick Gibberd's Master Plan for Harlow was to ensure the district was designed with sufficient areas of multi-functional open space, located close to residential areas, which residents have easy access to. These spaces are now considered to form part of the Green Infrastructure in Harlow and offer a range of formal and informal activities. The Green Infrastructure network provides well-connected footpaths, cycleways and bridleways which can be used by visitors and residents to encourage sustainability and promote healthier lifestyles.


5.7 The Adopted Open Space, Sport and Recreation SPD and the Harlow Design Guide SPD set out the requirements for the provision and design of open space. Where it can be demonstrated that provision cannot be met on site, the Open Spaces SPD sets out the method for calculating off-site contributions for alternative provision.

5.8 Satisfactory long-term management and maintenance arrangements must be secured as part of the planning permission. This may include the creation of a management company, a maintenance plan and/or an agreed commuted maintenance sum.

(4) L2The Provision and Loss of Recreational,
Sporting, Cultural and Community Facilities

1. Development for the provision of recreational, sporting, cultural and community uses and facilities

Development for the provision of recreational, sporting, cultural and community uses and/or facilities, including playing fields, play spaces, allotments and sports clubs, will be supported where it meets both the following criteria:

(a) there is evidence of a demonstrable need for the use and/or facility or a benefit  to the local community; and

(b) the use and/or facility is easily accessible by all sectors of the community by both  public and private transport.

2. Development resulting in the loss of recreational, sporting, cultural and community uses and facilities

Developments that will result in the loss of all or part of any recreation, sports, cultural or community uses and/or facilities will not be supported unless it meets one or more of the following criteria:

(a) it can be demonstrated that the use and/or facility is surplus to requirements and  an alternative replacement is not required;

(b) replacement uses and/or facilities of equivalent or better quantity and quality are  provided in a suitable location before the existing use and/or facility is replaced.  The replacement should be provided in an agreed location;

(c) such a development is ancillary or will support and enhance the existing use  and/or facility;

(d) the development would redress the deficiency of other recreational provision  within the locality.

(1) Justification

5.9 National policies and guidance state that in order to deliver recreational, sporting, cultural and community facilities and services the community needs, policies should plan positively and guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services, particularly where this would reduce the community's ability to meet its day-to-day needs.

5.10 This policy aims to protect the district's recreational, sporting, cultural and community facilities including playing pitches, play spaces, allotments, sporting facilities and parks. It also provides the criteria for which new facilities will be provided.


5.11 Recreation can include formal or informal activities and includes open spaces, play spaces, buildings and other facilities used by people for enjoyment in their free time. Sporting uses/and or facilities include sports pitches and associated buildings.

5.12 The policy also considers a range of different community and cultural buildings and uses, including places of worship, healthcare and education facilities, libraries and social facilities such as community halls. These uses can provide the necessary infrastructure that underpins a healthy and prosperous community, and a range of activities that help to engage and connect the public. This list is not exhaustive and the Council has the discretion to decide what constitutes recreational, sporting, cultural and community facilities.

5.13 Developers may need to satisfy the Council that a satisfactory management and maintenance arrangements are in place before planning permission is granted.

(3) L3 Development Involving the Provision or Relocation  or Loss of Public Art

1. Provision of Public Art in Major Developments

In major developments, public art should be provided.

2. Development Involving the Provision, Relocation or Loss of Public Art

The commissioning, maintenance and de-commissioning of public art must be agreed with the Council.


5.14 Since the designation of Harlow New Town in 1947, the district has been collecting and creating works of art for the enjoyment of the residents and visitors to the town in order to enhance the public realm. Most of the pieces are sculpture based, hence the branding of Harlow as a Sculpture Town. These sculptures are located in public spaces including the Town Centre, Neighbourhood Centres, Hatches, Green Wedges, employment areas and residential areas. Over the years the collection has grown to almost 100 works, giving the town the highest percentage of public sculpture per head of population in the country. Most pieces of art are maintained and owned by the Harlow Arts Trust, although some are owned by the Council or privately through development.

5.15 The purpose of this policy is to continue the legacy of Harlow as a town of public art and sculpture and it is expected that major new developments will contribute towards this. The Council will prepare a Public Art Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to help guide applicants on the inclusion of public art in their development and what information must be submitted alongside a planning application.


5.16 Detailed guidance on the provision, relocation and loss of public art will be set out in an Adopted Public Art SPD.

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