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PPS 8: Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation
Annex A: Definition of Open Space

A1 For the purposes of this Planning Policy Statement, open space is taken to mean all open space of public value, including not just land, but also inland bodies of water such as rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs which offer important opportunities for sport and outdoor recreation and can also act as a visual amenity.
A2 The following typology illustrates the broad range of open spaces that are of public value:
  1. parks and gardens – including urban parks, country parks, forest parks and formal gardens;
  2. outdoor sports facilities (with natural or artificial surfaces and either publicly or privately owned) – including tennis courts, bowling greens, sport pitches, golf courses, athletic tracks, school and other institutional playing fields, and other outdoor sports areas;
  3. amenity green space (most commonly, but not exclusively in housing areas) – including informal recreation spaces, communal green spaces in and around housing, and village greens;
  4. provision for children and teenagers – including play areas, kickabout areas, skateboard parks and outdoor basketball hoops;
  5. green corridors – including river and canal banks, amenity footpaths and cycleways;
  6. natural and semi-natural urban green spaces – including woodlands, urban forestry, grasslands (eg. meadows), wetlands, open and running water, and rock areas (eg. cliffs);
  7. allotments and community gardens;
  8. cemeteries and churchyards; and
  9. civic spaces, including civic and market squares and other hard surface areas designed for pedestrians.
A3 The Department recognises that most areas of open space can perform multiple functions. These will be taken account of when applying the policies of this Statement. These include:
  1. strategic functions - defining and separating urban areas; providing community greenways, ‘green lungs’ or landscape buffers within urban areas; better linking of town and country; and serving recreational needs over a wide area;
  2. urban quality - helping to support regeneration and improving quality of life for communities by providing visually attractive green spaces close to where people live;
  3. promoting health and well-being - providing opportunities to people of all ages for informal recreation, or to walk, cycle or ride within parks and open space or along paths, bridleways and canal banks. Allotments may provide physical exercise and other health benefits;
  4. havens and habitats for flora and fauna – sites may also have potential to be corridors or stepping stones from one habitat to another and may contribute towards achieving objectives set out in the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy;
  5. as a community resource – a place for congregating and for holding community events; and
  6. as a visual amenity – even without public access, people enjoy having open space near to them to provide an outlook, variety in the urban scene, or as a positive element in the landscape.
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