The Liverpool UDP
The whole of the former school site is designated as Green Space in the Liverpool UDP (Unitary Development Plan), the documents relating to which are downloadable from http://bit.ly/LCCudp
Policy OE11 relates to Protection of Green Space, Policy OE12 relates to Enhancement of Green Space, and Supplementary Planning Guidance note SPG10 relates to New Residential Development. All of these are relevant. The UDP states (para.8.141) that "policy OE11 is not intended as a restrictive block on the development of green space in all cases, but allows the merits of a proposal to be considered against the intrinsic value of the particular green space in question".
The wording of Policy OE11 is as follows:
Planning permission will not be granted for built development on part or all of any green space unless the proposed development can be accommodated without material harm to:
i. the recreational function of the green space, unless:
the development is ancillary to the use of the site for active or passive outdoor recreation and enhances its value for these activities;
the site does not lie in an area of open space deficiency or its development would not create an area of open space deficiency;
a replacement facility of at least equal quality and suitable size is provided at an appropriate location to ensure that an area of open space deficiency would not otherwise be created;
in the case of green space in educational use, the development is specifically required for educational purposes and that suitable and convenient alternative recreational facilities are available.
ii. the visual amenity value of the green space in terms of:
important vistas into and across the site;
key frontages which are visible from a main road;
important trees and landscape features, and the character of the site within the surrounding area; or
its importance as open land in an otherwise closely developed area;
iii. its relationship to adjoining green spaces, particularly whether the development might destroy a valuable link between areas of green spaces; and
iv. any known nature conservation value as identified in policy OE5.
UDP Figure 8.9 confirms that part of the Gateacre Comp site is classified as a Park Deficiency Area (being over 400 metres away from the nearest park in any direction), and para.8.153 states: "There will be a presumption in favour of retaining any open space in an open space deficiency area for informal/formal recreation".
Moreover SPG10 requires builders of family dwellings within a Park Deficiency Area to "consider on-site provision [of recreational open space] as a priority".
A 200-dwelling development would require 1 hectare of open space. By way of comparison, the total area of the Gateacre Comp site is understood to be 7.88ha.