Approximately 12% of England’s land mass is built-up, including gardens attached to residential dwellings. The remainder comprises agricultural and open land.
Notwithstanding the considerable imbalance between built-up areas and open land, there are various open spaces, both informal and formal, throughout cities, towns and villages. These have become 'planning battlegrounds' in recent years. They include town and village greens, allotments, playing fields, scheduled ancient monuments, sites with ecological interest, residential gardens and most recently, assets of community value.
Some open spaces are subject to additional protection over and above that provided by the planning system and so a potential additional layer of control is exercised over them. Practitioners need to be alert to these additional controls, since in many cases obtaining a planning permission may be insufficient in itself to enable a development to proceed.