In 2021, RSK Landscape (now part of Stephenson Halliday) was commissioned to deliver an integrated open space assessment strategy and green infrastructure strategy for Newcastle-under-Lyme borough to guide the spatial planning direction in the new local plan to 2040.
We used the 2017 open space and green infrastructure strategies as starting points but sought to reflect the subsequent changes to the planning policy context and macro-scale issues such as the climate emergency and the mental health and wellbeing issues associated with equality of green space provision in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new strategy will provide an integrated look at green space provision and need, future environmental resilience and strategic opportunities for nature-based solutions in the borough.
We completed a comprehensive site audit of over 350 open space sites across the borough to understand qualitative provision and issues, using bespoke criteria defined with reference to Green Flag Award standards, and to provide a robust and defensible open space typology and future provision standards.
In parallel, a geographic information system (GIS) driven, ecosystem services based spatial analysis and assessment of existing strategic rural and urban green infrastructure supply, demand and opportunity was completed. This has guided the planning of a strategic spatial, nature-based green and blue infrastructure network across the borough. This will inform local plan policy direction and shape the development of principles for delivering green infrastructure at all scales in the borough over the next 20 years and beyond.