Policy 7.17 Metropolitan Open Land
A The Mayor strongly supports the current extent of Metropolitan Open Land (MOL), its extension in appropriate circumstances and its protection from development having an adverse impact on the openness of MOL.
B The strongest protection should be given to London’s Metropolitan Open Land and inappropriate development refused, except in very special circumstances, giving the same level of protection as in the Green Belt. Essential ancillary facilities for appropriate uses will only be acceptable where they maintain the openness of MOL.
C Any alterations to the boundary of MOL should be undertaken by Boroughs through the LDF process, in consultation with the Mayor and adjoining authorities.
D To designate land as MOL boroughs need to establish that the land meets at least one of the following criteria:
a it contributes to the physical structure of London by being clearly distinguishable from the built up area
b it includes open air facilities, especially for leisure, recreation, sport, the arts and cultural activities, which serve either the whole or significant parts of London
c it contains features or landscapes (historic, recreational, biodiversity) of either national or metropolitan value
d it forms part of a Green Chain or a link in the network of green infrastructure and meets one of the above criteria.
7.56 The policy guidance of paragraphs 79-92 of the NPPF on Green Belts applies equally to Metropolitan Open Land (MOL). MOL has an important role to play as part of London’s multifunctional green infrastructure and the Mayor is keen to see improvements in its overall quality and accessibility. Such improvements are likely to help human health, biodiversity and quality of life. Development that involves the loss of MOL in return for the creation of new open space elsewhere will not be considered appropriate. Appropriate development should be limited to small scale structures to support outdoor open space uses and minimise any adverse impact on the openness of MOL. Green chains are important to London’s open space network, recreation and biodiversity. They consist of footpaths and the open spaces that they link, which are accessible to the public. The open spaces and links within a Green Chain should be designated as MOL due to their Londonwide importance.