Public Open Spaces

Ended on the 8 March 2019
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Design Guidance & Expectations


This Design Guide provides guidance on Warwick District Council's (WDC) expectations for the provision of public open space (POS). It will become evident on reading that it forms guidance only; everything is potentially an exception to the rule and POS should be designed to work in harmony with the immediate environment and demands of the space. WDC does not wish to encourage rigid adherence and 'standardised' offerings. A few elements are however seen as more of a 'must' and these are highlighted in green for easy of identification. Landscape plans are less likely to be approved if not addressed.

Pre-application advice

WDC's Green Space Team is available to provide pre-application advice and landscape architects/ developers are encouraged to discuss ideas and concepts before submitting POS and play area plans.

Overriding design principles

The vision3 for green space in Warwick District is:

By 2026 there will be a well-planned and managed network of integrated, accessible and diverse green space within Warwick district; creating a sustainable environment for the benefit of people, wildlife and our natural heritage.

Designs should reflect this vision; and be designed with the Green Flag Award4 in mind, a national standard used by WDC to assess the quality and accessibility of green space.

POS must be suitable and useable. It is always recommended that green spaces and play provision are designed by a landscape architect and provide bespoke solutions to the development instead of an 'off the shelf' solution. The location and design of play areas should however comply with the Council's adopted Play Area Standard5 (more details under 'play areas').

Well-designed spaces should be:

  •  Welcoming: entrances and signage work to draw people into the space
  • Accessible: there are no barriers to prevent access to pedestrians, cyclists, and those with disabilities6
  • Promoted: to ensure that interpretation and information is available to enhance the experience of those who use the space
  • Safe: designed to enhance busyness and informal surveillance from outside the space to deter crime and vandalism
  • Easy to navigate: through routes are suitably positioned and routes within the site promote access to all areas

3 WDC's 'Green Space Strategy for Warwick District 2012-2026'

4 More details on the Green Flag Award can be found on-line:

5 Adopted by the WDC's Executive meeting in February 2012.

6 The Fieldfare Trust promotes countryside access for disabled people and provides practical guidance in their publication 'A Good Practice Guide to Countryside Access for Disabled People. It is free to download online.

  • Places to be active: sport and physical activity are encouraged
  • Places to relax: shelter, shade and seating are available for people to enjoy being outdoors
  • Well integrated into the surrounding environment
  • Sustainable: designed to minimise impact on the natural environment and to adapt to climate change


Green spaces within a development should connect to each other so that the entire development can be traversed seamlessly via green routes by pedestrians and cyclists.

Developments should pay special attention to their permeability of the site and how it connects to any neighbouring developments; whether established, in progress or due to come forward in the future.

This permeability also needs to extend to the wider network of pedestrian routes, cycle routes and green spaces. Residents need to be able to access the extensive areas of POS throughout the district via safe and, where possible, green routes.

Pedestrian and cycle routes throughout the development should be integral to the design and provide sufficient green links to the surrounding area and existing areas of settlement. Any developments in more rural areas should involve discussions with Parish Councils so that they can provide support on the need for safe pedestrian and green links.

Garden Towns, Villages and Suburbs

WDC follows the Garden City approach and developments should follow the key planning and design principals. These are not repeated in this appendix but are supported by this SPD. Details can be found in the Council's publication 'Garden Towns, Villages and Suburbs. A Prospectus for Warwick District Council. May 2012', which is available on-line.

POS quantum

Without exception for commercial or industrial developments that will employ 100 or more full time equivalent staff, or for development of 11 or more dwellings, the applicant should clearly state, in metres squared, how much of the five POS typologies [specified in this SPD] will be provided on-site. The location and quantum of each should be clearly identified on a plan, noting SLOAP is excluded (see below).

For outline applications, it is accepted that it will not always be feasible to identify the exact location of the POS typologies. However indicative plans and an access and design statement should provide guidance and the required figures (in metres squared).

SLOAP – space left over after planning

This SPD deals with five types of POS (typologies). It excludes SLOAP and other small areas of land such as roadside verges, which are not intended for specific use. They do however provide a visual amenity and should be carefully designed but they fall outside the definition of POS to which this guide applies.

Phased developments

If a site is likely to be developed in phases and, or by more than one developer, a detailed site wide POS design is required for approval at the outset. This is to ensure a well-designed, joined up and cohesive POS offering.

The Section 106 Agreement for the site will require the submission of a POS Scheme [for the whole site] prior to commence and for it to be offered to WDC for adoption. For more details on a POS Scheme, please see Appendix 1.

POS typologies – what you may expect to see

Below is a guide to what elements are anticipated within each of the POS typologies used in this SPD.

Parks and Gardens

General heading

Description/per hectare

Feature –i.e. pond, sculpture, bandstand, toilets



15% of paths to be tarmac, 3 metres wide (minimum)

Planted areas

20% of which:

50% shrubs

50% perennial


65% of which:

60% ornamental grass

25% amenity grass

15% meadow grass


5% (within the grass area)

Trees – heavy standards

20 no.

Ornamental hedging

400 metres

Native hedging

400 metres

Fencing – metal railings

400 metres

Bins (combined dog/litter)

12 no.


24 no.


1 no.

Bird boxes

5 no.

Gates (maintenance access)

2 no.

Water supply

2 no.

Natural and semi-natural POS

General heading

Description/per hectare

Feature – i.e. natural pond

1 no.


3% of paths to be tarmac, 2 metres wide (minimum)

Woodland spinney

30% of which

33% whips (600-1200mm)

67% half standards (or existing trees)


66% of which:

50% amenity grass

50% meadow grass

Drainage ditches


Fencing – post and rail

500 metres

Native hedging

150 metres

Bins (combined dog/litter)

3 no.


1 no.


1 no.

Bird boxes

11 no.

Gates (maintenance access)

2 no.

Bird boxes

5 no.

Gates (maintenance access)

2 no.

Water supply

2 no.

Amenity POS

General heading

Description/per hectare


3% of paths to be tarmac, 2 metres wide (minimum)

Woodland spinney

15% (new supplied as whips 600-1200mm)


78% of which:

50% amenity grass

50% meadow grass



Drainage ditches


Fencing – post and rail

500 metres

Native hedging

150 metres

Bins (combined dog/litter)

1 no.


1 no.


1 no.

Bird boxes

5 no.

Gates (maintenance access)

2 no.

Bird boxes

5 no.

Gates (maintenance access)

2 no.

Water supply

2 no.


General heading

Description/per hectare


• Path


• Benches – contemporarydesign

4 no.

• Bins (combineddog/litter)

2 no.

• Groundmodelling

• Trees

12 no.

Play Features

• Inclusive podswing

1 no of each

• Inclusive rotatingbowl

• Cable/zipwire

• Additional rotating actionequipment

• Climbingfeature

• Boulders

• Youth shelter/socialzone

• Pre school/early years multi playunit

• 5 aside goal posts (x2)

Safety Surfacing

• Loose fill cushion fall orsimilar

30m2 (approx.)

• Grassmatting

30m2 (approx.)

NB. Where space permits, a neighbourhood play area should include a MUGA, skate park and or BMX track.


General heading

Description/per hectare

Access road

Tarmac, 3 metres wide (min.), with turning head


Near site entrance. Ratio: 1 space per 3 plots.


Tarmac, with tantalised wooden edging. Min width 1.7 metres

Perimeter fence

1.8 metres high, rabbit proof (if applicable)


Vehicular access gate x1

Pedestrian access gate (1.5 metres (min.) width between hanging and slam post) x1

500 metres


With contact details x1



Mains water stand pipe

1 for every 6 full size plots

Bin (combined dog/litter)

1 no.


1x 8ft x 6ft shed, with 210 litre water butt with a lid, on a stand / per plot

Compost bins

1x 300 litre, Black plastic / per plot

Secure cycle parking

Ratio: 1 stand per 3 plots



Soft landscaping


Species selection

Details will emerge as plans progress but there are several key things that WDC will need to see in the final proposals that should be kept in mind from the outset.

Be sure to provide plenty of pollinator-friendly species in both public and private green spaces and within hedges (e.g. Rhamnus cathartica). This should include both early and late pollinators.

Plants should also be included that provide winter forage for birds.

Plants of local provenance should be UK sourced and grown to help control the spread of disease and native plants should be native to Warwick District, not other parts of the British Isles.

Warwickshire County Council has produced guidelines on the landscape characters of the District and tree and hedge species appropriate to them. These should be observed. Details can be found on Warwickshire County Council's website.

Soils and contours

Soil types and their ph, together with a site's final contours will influence species selection. Details are required with each landscape submission.

For ease and the safe operation of machinery, the gradient of grassed areas must not exceed 30o, preferably less than 15o.


To aid establishment, water retaining granules or gel should be applied to all planting areas. Bare rooted stock should be dipped in a water retaining dip and microrisal granules should be sprinkled on the roots of all plants. All products to be applied at the manufacturers specified rate.

Mulch and mulch mats

All planting areas (except new hedges) should be mulched with untreated bark chip to a minimum depth of 75mm, taking care not to spread it against plant stems. Mulch mats should be used at the base of hedges to avoid the use of weed killer.

Amenity Grass

Amenity grass should include turf weeds in the mix (e.g. small leaf clover, birdsfoot trefoil, dandelions, daisies, self-heal, etc.) - roughly 10% of the total seed mix. Do not use fertilizer or weed killer.

Meadow Grass

Perennial species should be used to provide long term benefit instead of annuals that can provide an initial burst of colour (to potentially coincide with the development being completed) but which are not likely to return. If included, no more than 5% of the seed mix should be annuals.


Native hedges

Native hedges should be planted in double staggered rows at 5 plants per metre, 4 of which should be Crateagus monogyna. The fifth from a remaining mix of native plants (see list below), should include Rhamnus cathartica.

Whips should be planted with a cane and rabbit guard and/or by a rabbit proof fence on either side.

Native hedge species


Crataegus monogyna


Corylus avellana

Field maple

Acer campestre

Purgng Buckthorn

Rhamnus cathartica


Cornus sanguinea


Ilex aquifolium

Wild privet

Ligustrum vulgare


Prunus spinosa

Guelder rose

Viburnum opulus

Wayfaring tree

Viburnum lantana



Whips should have a cane and rabbit guard.

All standard trees should be fitted with a strim guard and staked (on the prevailing wind side) using either 2 (or 4), 75-100mm round tantalised, softwood stakes, fitted with a 75mm half round tantalised softwood cross bar at 450-600mm above ground level, with the tree attached to it with a rubber tree tie and spacer (diagram 1A). In areas of high footfall, 4, tall stakes should be used to deter vandalism (diagram 1B). All timber products should be FSC certified.

All standard trees should be planted with a perforated irrigation tube, which is fitted to encircle the circumference of the root plate. It should project no more than 10cm above ground level.



Planting mixes and trees should be considered in light of how they change over the years. Longevity and maintenance must be a key consideration and not sacrificed for short-term aesthetic benefits to coincide with the sale of homes. Fifty percent should be native species (see 'specie selection'). The remaining 50% can be non-native but should wherever possible be beneficial to wildlife, for example flowering, fruiting or good for pollinators.

Due to current [2018] health issues, Fraxinus spp and Aseculus spp. are not supported.

The Trees and Design Action Group (TDGA) publication 'Tree Selection for Green Infrastructure: A Guide for Specifiers' 2018, provides guidance on selecting appropriate species for a range of constraining planting scenarios based on comprehensive research. It provides clear and robust information to specifiers to enable appropriate species selection and can be downloaded free of charge8.

Trees proposed next to dwellings should comply with BS-BS 5837:2012 ('Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction. Recommendations'), to help avoid issues of blocking light, damaging fences and giving rise to insurance claims. Oaks in particular should not be planted near to buildings and never closer than their ultimate canopy spread (c.40 metres), further on clay soils.

Access for tree maintenance

For future maintenance, sufficient space needs to be allowed around a tree for a contractor to access it with machinery. This is especially important on boundaries when access may be limited by private, shared driveways, or on the borders of development sites where tall specimens are often used as visual buffers.


Trees and light columns

Species planted next to light columns should not affect the column's lux pattern when it reaches its natural mature height and spread.

Raised beds

Raised beds are not encouraged because they are prone to drought and require a higher level of maintenance, particularly in prolonged periods of dry weather.

If proposed, a water reservoir should be incorporated and drought tolerant species used. A weed supressing membrane is required and the bed is to be mulched with gravel to a depth of 50mm.

Hard landscaping



Where possible, paths should be wide enough to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists (3 metres or more) and have an open aspect. Even when not a designated cycle route, they will be used as such. Wider paths are acceptable, even welcomed and can be a real design feature. Wide, open sight lines can also make users feel safer and more comfortable.

Minimum usable, widths.

  • Footpath: unenclosed: 2 metres (preferably 3 metres). Against a wall or fence: 2.5 metres. Enclosed: 3 metres
  • Unsegregated footpath/cycleway: 3 metres (preferably 4 metres)
  • Segregated footpath/cycleway: Footpath 2 metres, cycleway 3 metres.
  • Bridleway: unenclosed 4 metres. Enclosed 5 metres.
  • Vehicular access: 5 metres


To aid drainage, paths should have a slight camber/cross fall. It is acceptable for paths to drain onto adjoining areas of grass, even if it temporarily ponds because this can enhance an area's wildlife value. Due to maintenance, gullies and French drains are not favoured.


Bituminous (tarmac) paths are the preferred surfacing option. Depending on ground conditions, a typical specification would consist of at least a 20mm surface course, 50mm binder course and

150mm Type 1, compacted sub base, over a permeable geotextile material. If the path is to be used occasionally by vehicles, for example for maintenance, the sub bases should increase to 225mm (minimum); and at access points, turning areas and vehicular drop off areas, where wear will be greater, the surface course should be increased to 50mm (minimum).

Tarmac is the preferred surfacing option and should be edged with concrete kerbs.

Grey Granite

Alternatives to tarmac often become weedy or worn if not regularly maintained. Breedon type surfaces may look ascetically pleasing when first laid but require more regular maintenance to keep on top

of weeds. The surface is often spoiled by surface run-off and wear and tear from cyclists and wildlife, and there are frequently issues with scatter, path 'dipping' and water pooling. The same applies when they are near to watercourses, with paths being washed away more easily. Repairing Breedon type surfaces also tends to be a lower priority when resources are limited as, whilst they end up looking untidy, they remain somewhat functional. That is not to say that there is no place for these types of path, but they need to be assessed according to the demands of the space. If a loose stone finish is favoured, WDC would prefer that Breeden gravel (or similar) is replaced by 3-5mm grey coloured granite, which has been found to be more durable. The compacted granite should be 75mm deep over a 150 mm compacted Type 1 subbase (or 225mm if used by vehicles), over a permeable geotextile material.

Instead of a concrete kerb, stone paths may be edged with tanalised timber with a minimum width of 25 mm.

Flag stones, paviors, setts, cobbles, board walks and resin boundgravel

Other surface materials are not likely to be supported because they are not as sustainable and require a high, costly, level of maintenance.

Root barriers

Root damage to paths is a serious concern, and a root barrier should be used to protect vulnerable sections.

Vegetation alongside paths

Vegetation should not be planted too close to paths to avoid issues with overgrowth.


No thorny species should be placed within a metre of a path that could be used by cyclists (permitted or otherwise). Amenity and ornamental hedges should be set back from the edge of a footway or path by at least 1 metre and the verge laid down to amenity grass (see diagram). Native hedges should be off-set by at least 5 metres.

Street furniture

Bins (dual use for dog waste and litter)

All public litter bins should be a standardised size, unless the demands of the space override this consideration. 112L capacity is the preferred capacity due to optimisation of collection routes, frequency of collections and standardised liners. Bins are coloured green for POS installations, and black for highway. In rural areas, this style of bin may be less appropriate.

The details below are taken from WDC's current supplier, Wybone, in order to provide an example of what is required. However, the standards are fairly universal and the developer should approach suppliers as they see fit.

  • MLB/112 – 112L galvanised steel litter bin cw laser cut base and stainless steel rod hinge
  • PC6605 – Powder coated in RAL 6005 (Green)
  • LID/S – Lid standard
  • AP/ST/4 – 4 x apertures standard litter
  • RETRO/AT/GLD – Easyfit ashtray top
  • LC/LDW/GLD – Lasered LITTER & DOG WASTE in gold – all sides
  • LOGO/V – vinyl logo – to state 'TAKE PRIDE IN WARWICK DISTRICT' finished in gold. Front & back only
  • BAND2 – Dual banding gold – 1 to top & 1 to bottom
  • LKS/LH – Lock style slam left hand fitted
  • L1 – Square galvanised steel liner 2x handled to exterior (H: 634mm. W: 414mm. D: 415mm)

Bins should be dual use (for dog waste and litter) and installed:

* Next to every play area (1 bin for every 5 pieces of equipment) – off set by at least 2 metres from any equipment.

*Next to every bench/table or if grouped, 1 bin per 3 tables/benches – off set by at least 2 metres.

*At every entry point.

*As close as possible to adjacent hardstanding for ease of maintenance and to avoid ground damage in wet weather.

*Near to vehicular access points for ease of collection.

Benches and tables

Stainless steel is preferred over wood for maintenance but if wood is favoured for site aesthetics, it should be FSC approved hardwood.

All benches and tables should be cast into the ground for security. Not bolted in at the base.

Tables and benches should be installed upon hardstanding to prevent ground damage and to allow them to be used all year round. When sited alongside hard surfaced paths, this surface should ideally flare out to provide the base (with rounded edges as opposed to right angled). For benches the hard standing should be able to accommodate a wheelchair, pushchair or similar alongside to avoid blocking the path; and tables designs should be able to accommodate a wheelchair user. Where furniture sits away from hardstanding, then a surface should be used that is appropriate to the setting.

Typically, there should be a bench every 100 metres.

In play areas, benches should have a back and an arm rail, with access provision for the disabled.


Fencing should be sturdy and easy to maintain. Bird mouth fencing (a knee high barrier) is a good all round choice. However, fencing, like street furniture, is very dependent upon on the aesthetics of the site and should always be designed with this in mind.

If post and rail fencing is intended to keep the public out of certain areas, such as wildlife sensitive areas, the fence should be 1.3 metres high, with horse netting attached to the side facing the publicly accessible area. The mesh of the horse netting should be 50mm x 100mm. All timber products should be FSC certified.

Fencing of allotments is considered under 'Allotments'.

Barbed wire must not be used unless required to control livestock; and then only when a line of smooth wire is attached opposite it, on the inside side of the post (on the park side).



All play areas must be signed with the site name and details of who maintains it so that damage and accidents can be reported. A site address/postcode will also help an emergency vehicle locate the site (if needed).

If and when a play area is transferred to WDC, the play area sign will need to be replaced.

Upright signage is more appropriate for welcome signs or play area information; and the 2018 specification for this type is:

  • Size: 595x420mm landscape
  • Material: 4mm heavy duty white plastic – needs graffiti-proof coating
  • Print: full colour to face
  • Finish: supply with fixings to rear and metal posts (long enough for sign to sit at 1.6m high)
  • Post colour should be a mid-grey (RAL 9023, 9022 or 9007; whichever is available from your supplier).

This is a sample image of a 2018 sign, noting the site name would need to be changed and the phone number updated to 01926 356128.


In 2019, WDC will be reviewing its POS signage; and contact should be made before ordering signs to check current specifications.


Information or interpretation boards

Where an information or interpretation board is proposed, an angled sign is normally most appropriate. The specifications for this type of sign is:

  • Aluminium display tray and frame fixed to 70mm square galvanized steel frame with 50mm cross bar
  • Graphics fitted within display frame secured in place with stainless steel tamperproof security screws
  • Powder coated in standard RAL colour to finish
  • Leading edge 700 mm from ground level, extending 600mm below ground
  • Display angled at 30º
  • A1 size display: 841mm x 594mm
  • Display graphics embedded in 3mm GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic); high quality vandal and UV fade resistant for 5 years
  • RAL colour should be a judgement call (approved by WDC) based on the setting and what is available from your suppliers, but a standard black finish is always a very good option (e.g. 9005: Jet Black or 9017: Traffic Black)

When installed the sign should face the item being described so that the reader can see/refer to the feature whilst reading.

Welcome to signs

For larger areas of POS, for example where a user would lose sight of a public road and/or there are a variety of paths to take, a 'welcome to' sign, featuring a site map will help to install user confidence, showing them where they can go, and what they can potentially see or do. The map should clearly show the names of the roads adjoining the site, so that users who wish to, or need to, ring for assistance can advise others where to find them. This is particularly important for visitors less familiar with the general. For a specification, see 'play area signs', observing the important note.

'Welcome to' signs are recommended for larger sites at main entrance points.

Gap, Gate, Stiles

In consideration of the Equality Act and 'British Standard 5709:2018 for Gaps, Gates and Stiles', stiles are not permitted.

For pedestrian access, a gap (minimum width of 1.2 metres) is the first preference, followed by a BS compliant swing gate (minimum width of 1.2 between hanging and slam posts), then a BS compliant kissing gate.

For gates, shear nuts must be used to deter theft and to stop gates being lifted off their hinges, the top hinge pin should point down, with the bottom hinge pin facing up.


Lighting within areas of POS should be sustainable and consider the effects on wildlife and the usability of the space. Innovative solutions such as solar power, motion sensors and low level up-lighting to mark out paths should be considered.

Arbours and pergolas

These are not generally supported due to high levels of maintenance. If proposed, it should be demonstrated that the structure is low maintenance, robust and resistant to vandalism.


Access – for maintenance

Secured, vehicular access points are required for maintenance vehicles. At the roadside, barriers must be set back from the edge of the carriageway by at least 6 metres (or otherwise approved by the Highway Authority in writing); and open away from the carriageway. Barriers to have a clear minimum width of 4.5 metres (15ft) between hanging and slam posts, or when bollards are lowered (see bollards for more details).

For gates, a self-latching stop post is needed. Shear nuts must be used to deter theft and to stop gates being lifted off their hinges, the top hinge pin should point down, with the bottom hinge pin facing up. Anti-tamper proof locks should be used.

Access points should have a suitable hard surface.

Landscape plans must detail maintenance access points with dropped kerbs at the roadside.

Unauthorised vehicles

All POS should be sympathetically designed to prevent unauthorised vehicular access, without detracting from the visual amenity of the space. This could include for example, natural earth contouring, planting beds, hedging, fencing, bollards, boulders or a combination.

Landscape plans must detail what anti-vehicle measures will be used.


Bollards should either be metal or FSC approved hardwood. Decisions should be informed by site aesthetic. Metal bollards should not necessarily be traditional cast iron.

Bollards should be:

  • 900mm high (above ground), with 450mm (minimum) below ground,
  • Concreted in place,
  • Spaced at 1.5 metre intervals,
  • fitted with reflectors when they cross a path, and;
  • at the junction with another path, for example a roadside footway, be set back 5 metres from the junction.

Telescopic retractable bollards must be used at maintenance access point (not ones that are laid over).

Height barriers

Designed to suit the site aesthetic and other on-site furniture, height barriers should be:

  • galvanised steel,
  • 2.1 metres high (clear headroom),
  • openable with a key lock pad,
  • clearly signed with contact details for opening/closing,
  • fitted with an integral handle for opening/closing, and;
  • be set back at least 6 metres from the edge of a carriageway unless otherwise approved by the Highway Authority.

Cycle parking

WDC's 'Vehicle Parking Standards Supplementary Planning Document' provides details on the design, layout and siting of cycle parking.

In summary, the use of the Sheffield type stand which allows the frame and both wheels to be secured is recommended as a minimum. An area of 1 square metre should be allowed per stand and a minimum distance of 1 metre should be maintained per stand.

For full details please refer to the above SPD.

A minimum of 3 cycle stands per play area or BMX track is required.

Car parking

WDC's 'Vehicle Parking Standards Supplementary Planning Document' provides details on the design, layout and siting of car parking.

In summary, car park spaces should measure a minimum of 2.4 metres x 4.8 metres. Spaces alongside a wall, fence or boundary should be 3 metres wide and spaces between such features should be 3.5 metres wide. Spaces for people with disabilities should be an additional 1.2 metres wide and long; and should be marked with the British Standard 'Disabled' symbol.

For full details please refer to the above SPD.

Parking bays must comply with WDC's Vehicular Parking Standards SPD.


Water is important for wildlife. It is also highly valued by the public and is encouraged.


For open bodies of water, there should be a 2-3 metre wide ledge for marginal plants, then a 1 metre drop to prevent them spreading into open water. Around the perimeter, 2 metres of grass should be permitted to grow tall to deter people accessing the water. The tall grass could be a wildflower meadow mix.

Until established, a chicken wire fence may be required around the marginal planting to deter wildfowl pulling it up.

A similar 2 metre wide corridor of tall grass should be allowed alongside water courses, to control access and reduce wildlife disturbance. They make excellent wildlife corridors.

Constructed eco habitats

A range of eco habitats suitable for the location are actively encouraged. For example but not exclusively, bird and bat boxes, otter holts and wood piles for hedgehogs and other insects. Wood piles should be partially buried/grassed over to deter human disturbance.

Bird boxes

Bird boxes should only be attached to existing mature trees; and be of a type suitable for the species that you wish to support, i.e. robins, tits, sparrow or owls. The species and box design will guide where and how close they should be installed to one another and how many can be accommodated on site. The developer's ecological report should provide guidance.

Bat boxes

Due to licence restriction on handling, only non-openable bat boxes should be installed.


Pre-application discussion is encouraged with WDC's Green Space Team to select what is appropriate for the site.

Play areas should comply with WDC's adopted Play Area Standard ('PAS'). Namely in urban areas,

  • Access– There is a play area within 480 metres of every home in Warwick District
  • Quality – That play areas are designed to be as safe and inclusive as possible to access and use and to be of high play value.
  • Area – that an area of at least 0.3 hectares per 1000 population is provided for play areas on new residential developments.

The access standard is self-explanatory and the area quantum is included in this SPD. In rural areas, it is acknowledged that the access standard may need to be more flexible.

To achieve the quality standard, there is a need to apply the following five principles to the location and design of play areas:

  • Play areas should be located where there is good natural surveillance from the street and neighbouring houses.
  • Play areas should be located on accessible green space where feasible and include elements of natural and free play.
  • A buffer zone should be provided around play areas.
  • All play areas should be designed to be inclusive for children and young people with disabilities.
  • Play areas should be designed using Play England's 10 principles for designing successful play space9, which has been adopted by the Council.

Play areas and green spaces need to be designed in conjunction with a landscape architect. They should be unique, designed for the area, and should avoid off the shelf solutions.

The PAS sets out that new play areas on new developments should be within, or adjacent to accessible green space and have a minimum size of 400m2, catering for children up to 14 years. It further aims to retain and enhance a network of 'Destination Play Zones' with a minimum size of 1000m2 that cater for young people up to 18 and should include at least one of the following: a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) skate park, BMX track or other sports facility in addition to play equipment.

Play equipment should be at least 20 metres from the nearest property; and 30 metres for a MUGA, skate park, BMX track or other sports facility.

Play areas catering for all age groups may need separation of younger and older ages groups. This could be through fencing or natural features such as mounds and sensory planting, both of which can add to the play offering. Plant species should not be poisonous and grassy mounds should be 1:3 to create a challenge to run up and down. A 1.5 metre wide mown path should be provided around the base of the mound; and up, over and through it to guide play. These areas will be susceptible to erosion and wear and tear, consequently they should be reinforced. Fencing will be required if a play area is near a road or other obvious safety concern i.e. a car parks or sub station.

In general the play offering should include a climbing feature, rotating element, a swing and slide designed to encourage imaginative and inclusive play.

Play surfacing should comply with British Standard 7188 and the European standard EN1177 – Impact Absorbing Playground Surfacing.

Outdoor Gym equipment should also be provided where possible as this encourages adults and youths to exercise, these should not be installed close to children's playgrounds. Signage should be clear and show the user the correct way in using the equipment.

The equipment material should enhance the existing environment and should be looked at on a site by site basis. When timber is used, it should be from a sustainable source and utilise galvanised steel supports to increase longevity and make replacement easier

Independent safety checks and risk assessments will need to be carried out and reports given to WDC; and if a play area is to be adopted by WDC, warranties and guarantees will need to be transferred to WDC.

Play areas will also require benches, signs, cycle stands and bins – for further information, please see the relevant sections.


SuDS need to be designed according to the latest CIRIA guidance, with special attention given to pond and wetland design, and upstream pre-treatment (chapter 23); they should also be a useable feature of the POS. That is, they should bring amenity, landscaping and biodiversity benefits as well as the technical elements required. As a general rule, it is preferred that SuDS feature permanent water instead of being a damp hollow; landscaped (vegetated) instead of 'hard' SuDS. This can help to bring the benefits noted above as well as generally being easier to maintain. SuDS should also interface well with the surrounding space. For example; pathways running the perimeter of ponds to allow

9Design for Play. A guide to creating successful play spaces' Play England, June 2008'

people to interact with the feature, appropriate gradients and beaches to allow for safe access, well landscaped edges instead of fencing to provide safety, etc.

Vegetation planting around SuDS features should pay special attention to the aggressiveness of particular species and how that will interact with the design of the basin. For example, bulrushes can quickly colonise a pond without proper maintenance and reduce the efficiency of the feature. Using marginal shelves within the SuDS design can address this issue.

A full SuDS maintenance programme and set of lifecycle costs will need to be provided, and the costs should be linked to the management programme.

Silt traps and appropriate maintenance access should be provided to facilitate ongoing maintenance and reduce costs.


Developments of 100 or more dwellings need to provide allotments on-site.

Allotments are usually managed by Parish or Town Councils (or allotment associations on their behalf) and it is recommended they are consulted before submitting a planning application to discuss provision, local demands and design preferences, i.e full, half or quarter size plots. The results of these consultations should be included in the application; particularly if it is proposed that an off-site financial contribution is made instead. If an off-site contribution is proposed, it will need to be evidenced that this is acceptable and supported by the relevant Parish or Town Council, or local allotment association(s).

They should not be sited in areas prone to waterlogging or flooding, or in areas shaded by trees or buildings. The soil should be of good quality, suitable for food production. A main water supply is a must. The style of the site will depend very much on the particular nature and aesthetics of the site but allotments should be protected with fencing without being intrusive. Paladin (not palisade) fencing may be appropriate, along with hedgerows and other visual cover. If fencing is used, it may need to be sunk into the ground to deter wildlife (i.e. rabbits). Access paths will be required along with parking for cars and bicycles.

To avoid the area becoming visually unkempt, each plot should be provided with a 6ft x 8ft shed and connected water butt that rests on a stand to allow a watering to fit under the tap. A secure, larger communal building is also recommended for storing larger items of machinery, along with a large, three bay composting facility. A community orchard could also be considered as part of the offering.

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