Playing fields and other outdoor sports areas, children's play areas, agricultural land, allotments and cemeteries are, where they occur outside Green Wedges and Critical Natural Assets, all examples of Functional Open Space valued more for their recreational or social functions than for any intrinsic ecological interest or contribution to wider landscape qualities. Nevertheless, they may also provide habitats for wildlife and contribute to the visual amenities and character of the local neighbourhood. They also provide relief within areas that are otherwise quite densely developed.

The Local Plan contains separate policies relating to most of those uses and the sites which accommodate them. Generally, those sites are to be safeguarded so that they can continue to serve their current purpose.

In some instances, however, there may be a surplus of land for a particular function (either now or in the future). When that situation arises, another open space use will normally be preferred, because this retains the site in an open state so that future changes in the demand for functional open spaces can be accommodated. Alternatively, such a site might be used for a habitat or landscape creation scheme to compensate for the development of land forming part of the Basic Natural Stock. Occasionally it may be better to allow such a site to be developed to meet some other need (especially a social need) but this will only be allowed if the character and amenity of the surrounding area will not be damaged.