North Norfolk contains a number of International and European Designated Sites which come under significant pressure from visitors, including local day trips and visits. All Council’s in Norfolk are working together on a strategy to reduce pressure on these sites and the Western Extension has a role to play in providing new and enhanced areas of open space and green infrastructure to provide a destination for local visitors and release pressure from the Designated Sites.
North Walsham has a number of green spaces throughout the town including the Memorial Park and a small pocket park close to the leisure centre. There are a number of smaller open spaces peppered around the town, together with large areas of greenspace at North Walsham Football Club and at the schools. However, the North Norfolk Open Space Study identifies that there are significant deficiencies in all types of open space in the town including parks, allotments and larger natural green spaces and the opportunity will be taken to address these deficiencies as part of the new development.
The proposals for North Walsham West are informed by evidence and policies which are summarised on this page.
National Planning Policy Framework
15. Conserving and enhancing the natural environment
170. Planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by:
(a) protecting and enhancing valued landscapes, sites of biodiversity or geological value and soils (in a manner commensurate with their statutory status or identified quality in the development plan);
(b) recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, and the wider benefits from natural capital and ecosystem services – including the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land, and of trees and woodland;
(c) maintaining the character of the undeveloped coast, while improving public access to it where appropriate;
(d) minimising impacts on and providing net gains for biodiversity, including by establishing coherent ecological networks that are more resilient to current and future pressures;
(e) preventing new and existing development from contributing to, being put at unacceptable risk from, or being adversely affected by, unacceptable levels of soil, air, water or noise pollution or land instability. Development should, wherever possible, help to improve local environmental conditions such as air and water quality, taking into account relevant information such as river basin management plans; and
(f) remediating and mitigating despoiled, degraded, derelict, contaminated and unstable land, where appropriate.
Open space and recreation
96. Access to a network of high quality open spaces and opportunities for sport and physical activity is important for the health and well-being of communities. Planning policies should be based on robust and up-to-date assessments of the need for open space, sport and recreation facilities (including quantitative or qualitative deficits or surpluses) and opportunities for new provision. Information gained from the assessments should be used to determine what open space, sport and recreational provision is needed, which plans should then seek to accommodate.
97. Existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land, including playing fields, should not be built on unless:
(a) an assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the open space, buildings or land to be surplus to requirements; or
(b) the loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location; or
(c) the development is for alternative sports and recreational provision, the benefits of which clearly outweigh the loss of the current or former use.
98. Planning policies and decisions should protect and enhance public rights of way and access, including taking opportunities to provide better facilities for users, for example by adding links to existing rights of way networks including National Trails.
Green Infrastructure Evidence
The Green Infrastructure Position Statement (NNDC) 2019
The Green Infrastructure Position Statement brings together key findings detailed in the Council’s evidence base.
This evidence has been used to identify existing issues and opportunities in relation to green infrastructure in North Norfolk. There is a focus in the document on the 2 main growth towns - including North Walsham.
Key documents in the Council’s evidence base include:
The Norfolk Green Infrastructure Mapping Project 2018
North Norfolk State of the Environment Report 2011
North Norfolk Ecological Network Mapping
Recreational Impacts Study 2017
Norfolk Coast Partnership AONB Management Plan and other documents
Natural England’s Accessible Natural Greenspace Report 2010 and Mapping 2018
North Norfolk Open Space and Playing Pitch Strategy (emerging)
Norfolk Rights of Way Improvement Plan and Norfolk Access Improvement Plan 2018-2028
The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and Natural Flood Management Opportunities mapping
Broadland Rivers Catchment Plan
The NNDC Green Infrastructure Position Statement can be found here: Green Infrastructure
Open Space Evidence
Open Space Assessment (NNDC) 2020
An Open Space Assessment was undertaken to inform the District Council’s decision-making processes in relation to open space provision up to 2036.
It is one of a set of reports covering the North Norfolk local authority area and prepared for the Council as part of a wider Open Space, Sport and Recreation Study and Playing Pitch Strategy for the Council.
The four reports are the:
Community and Stakeholder Consultation Report;
Playing Pitch Strategy Needs Assessment Report;
Playing Pitch Strategy; and
Open Space Assessment Report (this report).