Open space plays an important role in our society by providing places for exercise, quiet reflection, children’s play and organised sport. As our communities grow and change, greater attention needs to be placed on planning our open spaces to ensure that they meet our current and future needs. The Horsham Rural City Council has developed an integrated Open Space Strategy (OSS) to provide Council with strategic directions to determine priorities for the planning, provision and development of open space across the municipality. The objectives of this project are to: o Establish a vision for Council for the provision of open space o Establish an agreed hierarchy and definition of open space and play spaces to be applied to the municipality o Establish benchmarks for Horsham The overarching vision for open space in Horsham is: “A leading regional community with an open space network that provides positive health and well-being outcomes for everybody.” The following guiding principles have been developed to implement this vision in practice. It is intended that Horsham’s open space network will consider: equity; accessibility; health and wellbeing; participation; sustainability; safety; adaptability; and efficiency. Key issues identified within the existing open space network are outlined below: o The quantity of open space in Horsham is considered “high or adequate” – however the quality of open space is poor on a number of fronts. o Facilities and amenities around public open spaces are in decline or often non-existent. o Accessibility to open space is inequitable across the municipality. Either physical barriers exist, or there is a perception that some open space is not open to the public. o There are also some open spaces such as the Horsham Racecourse and the Horsham Showgrounds, where a large portion of the area is encumbered space and not able to be used by the broader community. o Connectivity and way-finding is poor (cycling, walking, running and wayfinding signage). This is consistent across most of the municipality, particularly in the Horsham Township, where there is a lack of linkages both across the city and between open spaces. o Many open spaces in Horsham are considered ad hoc in a planning context, and distribution is not equitable across the town and localities. o Horsham’s fantastic network of rivers, lakes and water-bodies is underutilised and disconnected from the broader open space network.
SBP for City of Horsham: 2019