Open space audit and strategy - The OSS Hub

Planning authorities should assess current and future open space needs, and plan how to protect open spaces to help meet those needs.

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 requires planning authorities to prepare and publish an Open Space Strategy (OSS).

The OSS is to set out a strategic framework of the planning authority’s policies and proposals as to the development, maintenance and use of green infrastructure in their district, including open spaces and green networks. An open space strategy must contain an audit of existing open space provision an assessment of current and future requirements. The Act also introduces a requirement for planning authorities to prepare a Forestry and Woodland Strategy and to carry out a play sufficiency assessment.

The Act defines some key terms as follows:

  • Open space is the space within and on the edge of settlements comprising green infrastructure or civic areas such as squares, market places and other paved or hard landscaped areas with a civic function.
  • Green infrastructure means features of natural and built environments and the connections between them that provide a range of ecosystem and social benefits.
  • Green networks are connected areas of green infrastructure and open space.

Guidance to support the preparation of open space strategies in your area:

'Wayfinder Guide' to the preparation of Open Space Audits and Strategies

Review and development of open space audit and strategy guidance and best practice - NatureScot Commissioned Report No.625

Examples of good practice in open space strategies:

Developing Open Space Standards - Guidance and Framework

East Dunbartonshire Open Space Strategy 2015

Open Space 2021 Edinburgh's Open Space Strategy

Planning for green networks in Fife

Find out more:

Green Networks in Development Planning

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