Green Infrastructure Policies

Green Infrastructure


Key messages:

Shaftesbury’s distinctiveness comes from its place in the landscape. Our historic town rests on an even more ancient Saxon settlement at this high point. We have evolved and grown yet our hilltop town nestles amongst trees and from the surrounding countryside much of the town is hidden from view.

It is clear from our research that townspeople attach great importance to protecting and enhancing our green infrastructure.  So we have spent a lot of time undertaking an audit of all the green spaces and also identified the key views, and why they are important.

We also found out that Cranborne Chase AONB, which wraps around the eastern edge of our town, is bidding to be recognised as an international dark skies area – so this too is considered in our plan.

Green Infrastructure Draft Policies:

Policy SFGI1:

What does Policy SFGI1 set out to do?

To protect the important and locally valued green spaces.

Some are associated with scheduled monuments or give access to beautiful long views but many of the spaces have high recreational value. Some are important areas of woodland in or adjoining the town. Other areas are corridors that are rich in wildlife and contribute to biodiversity.


POLICY SFGI1 – The areas shown on the map and identified within the audit in the appendix are designated as Local Green Spaces (LGS). Development will not be permitted within these designated spaces or on land immediately next to them, if it would harm their green character and the reason for their designation.

Development within a Local Green Space will only be permitted if it is minor in nature and compatible with the space’s character and continued use. Any reduction in the recreational amenity or ecological value of a Local Green Space must be replaced through, for example, the provision of an alternative green space of equal or better value and as accessible to the surrounding community.

The Important Treed Areas, as shown on the map and identified within the audit in the appendix, should retain their treed character. Where the loss of trees is unavoidable, replacement planting will be sought in order to maintain the treed character of the local area.

Quick Read

What does this policy mean and why is it important?

A Neighbourhood Plan can protect some green spaces. These areas could be identified because they are historically important, sports fields or areas rich in wildlife. We have listed Shaftesbury’s special green spaces. There is a formula that states the amount of open space that should be offered for each person living in a community. When we look at how many people live in Shaftesbury and then measure how much open space is available, we don’t have enough open space. We want to protect the open spaces that we have and try to add more green spaces.

Policy SFGI2:

What does Policy SFGI2 set out to do?

To ensure development respects Shaftesbury’s topography and its position in the landscape, recognising that the steep slopes, hilltop and the lower settlements of St James and Enmore Green are all highly sensitive to development, and the extent to which tree cover is important to the incorporation of new development on the shallower slopes.


Dorset’s Local Plan has offered protection to Shaftesbury’s unique setting through what have been called the Slopes Policies. This Neighbourhood Plan updates these policies and the areas it covers, through its new Slopes Map.

Developers must make sure that planned development respects Shaftesbury’s contours, landscape and the ‘lie of the land’. The steep slopes, hilltop and the lower settlements of St James and Enmore Green are all highly sensitive to development. Tree cover is an important consideration of any new development on the shallower slopes.

– The outstanding character of, and view from, Gold Hill and the views to the south and north of the Spur (as indicated on the map) will be protected.

On the steep slopes (as shown on the map) development will preserve the remaining open or wooded areas and their distinct rural character, and further building in this area will generally be resisted.

On the shallow slopes (as mapped), the design, scale and location of the development should not adversely affect the generally undeveloped character of the slopes. It should not negatively impact on views from higher and lower ground.

Development on the edge of the town will be expected to include a landscape scheme, to draw the rural landscape into the settlement and provide a soft landscaped edge to the town.

There should be public access to the countryside via footpaths (and where appropriate, bridleways or cycle paths), connected to the wider countryside rights of way.


Quick Read

What does this policy mean and why is it important?

The slopes surrounding our town are really important to residents. Planners should not allow any new building that spoils Shaftesbury’s views, whether those views are looking down from the hilltop or looking up towards the town. Gold Hill’s view must be protected. We want new developments on the edge of town to blend in with the countryside. The use of trees and hedgerows will help retain that sense of rural setting. A plan for planting must be agreed and the plants chosen must be local varieties that don’t look out of place. New green spaces will be encouraged but developers need to agree who will look after those spaces when their development is complete. We want more car-free routes connecting parts of our town and linking Shaftesbury with the surrounding countryside.

Policy SFGI3

What does Policy SFGI3 set out to do?

To ensure development respects and enhances the Green Infrastructure network – its green spaces and green corridors – and the contribution this makes to the character of the town, its sustainability and biodiversity, and the general well-being of its residents.


POLICY SFGI3Outside of the town centre, landscaping should be included to provide buildings with an attractive, verdant setting, having regard to the character of the area, views into and out of the area and potential to connect from and provide new green spaces and corridors.

Existing mature trees, native hedgerows and green corridors should be retained and included within a landscaping scheme for all new developments.

The design of green spaces within a development should, where practical, allow for multiple benefits, so that these spaces:

  • Contribute to the character of the town. Mitigate climate change and provide opportunities for sustainable drainage.
  • Enhance biodiversity.
  • Enhance tree cover.
  •  Enable local food production.
  • Provide educational opportunities
  •  Provide opportunities for recreation including walking and cycling.

Planting schemes should use species that are native to the area and appropriate to the site’s size and location (a list of local species that are likely to be appropriate is provided in Appendix H).

Measures should be taken to ensure future maintenance of any landscaping scheme and green spaces. This could be through the use of conditions or a legally binding agreement.


Quick Read

What does this policy mean and why is it important?

Planting and open spaces as part of any new housing or other development is important. It should be considered from the outset and done right. Features like ponds, marshes and hedgerows are important for local wildlife and should be retained.


Policy SFGI4

What does Policy SFGI4 set out to do?

To protect our dark skies, particularly considering the adjoining Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and its potential International Dark Sky Reserve status.


POLICY SFGI4 – Development should be designed to conserve and enhance the quality of the dark night skies and prevent glare affecting the Cranborne Chase AONB. In particular:

  •  External lighting should be avoided unless required for security or safety reasons.
  •  Where lighting is considered necessary, its design should minimise its impact, both on the amenity of the occupants of neighbouring properties, and in terms of light spillage and glare.
  •  Light sources should be fully shielded and pointed downwards, so that light is not emitted above the horizontal.
  •  Movement sensitive and timed PIR lights, down-lighters or ‘wall washers’ are examples of lighting schemes that generally have less adverse impact whilst providing appropriate illumination.
  • Any lighting scheme within or visible from the AONB should meet or exceed the level of protection appropriate to Environmental Zone 1 (as defined by the Institution of Lighting Professionals), with the addition that external LED lighting should not exceed a correlated colour temperature (CCT) of 3,200K.


Quick Read

What does this policy mean and why is it important?

The Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) begins just one mile east of Shaftesbury Town Hall. One of Cranborne Chase’s special qualities is that it does not suffer greatly from light pollution, the glow you get from streetlights which means you cannot see the stars in many towns. Cranborne Chase is one of the best places in southern England for viewing the Milky Way and you can often see it with the naked eye. If we work to keep our night skies dark, then Shaftesbury’s economy could benefit from astro-tourism. Stargazing visitors have helped boost the tourism economy of Exmoor, which is also very dark. Dark skies are also better for animals and birdlife, too. Wildlife can become confused, stressed and suffer disrupted sleep patterns when they mistake bright artificial lighting for the sun.


For Maps and further information please click here to access the full Neighbourhood Plan.