«Lists of figures, plans, tables and appendices ii Glossary vii Executive Summary viii 1 Introduction 1 2 Undertaking the Study 9 3 Strategic Context ...»
7.28 The consultation process sought to provide better understanding of what local communities wanted in terms of quality, quantity and accessibility to green space. A survey of Leeds’ households was carried out and an on-street survey was carried out in the inner city areas to ensure participation. Further assessment of local need was carried out involving children from schools and the Leeds Youth Council. Local sports clubs and recreation user groups, Leeds City Council employees, ward councillors, parish councils and key stakeholders were also asked for their views.
7.29 Consultation undertaken as part of the PPG17 study highlighted that:
• A higher proportion of household survey respondents participate in physical activity at least once a month, than on-street respondents;
7.30 In addition to facility related issues, several other opportunities and issues were also
highlighted by clubs, including:
• 40% of sports clubs surveyed perceived that the existing quantity of provision was poor or very poor;
• 62% of responses from clubs/organisation highlight quality of sport facilities as the biggest issue in Leeds, above both access and quantity.
7.31 The priority for clubs and organisations is to improve the quality of the facility. In particular, the condition of grass pitches, ancillary facilities and the cleanliness and quality of changing provision.
Current Provision Quantity
7.32 The quantity of outdoor sports facilities is summarised in Table 7.2 below and their location shown in plan 7.1. Consideration will be given to the specific type of facility provided during the application of local standards. The figures for Roundhay (North East Inner) and Temple Newsam (East Outer) are skewed by the existence of large numbers of playing pitches in the two largest city parks.
Table 7.2 – Provision of Outdoor Sports per 1,000 Population Based on Three Population Growth Scenarios
7.33 It is simplistic to assume that all growth will be evenly distributed across the city.
Some areas of the city have limited capacity to accommodate additional growth, even on the scale suggested by scenario C. Further incremental growth on small previously developed sites in the existing urban area places greater pressure on the existing spaces and facilities, and it is these areas which are already in greatest need and have the greatest restrictions on growing outdoor sport opportunities. In these areas, quality is likely to be the biggest issue.
7.34 However, it would be expected that the majority of strategic growth, if it does occur, will occur on the urban fringe, in the outer areas, as already indicated in the emerging Leeds Core Strategy.
7.35 The key issues emerging from the above table of information and consultations
relating to the quantity of outdoor sports facilities across the city are as follows:
• in total, the provision of outdoor sports facilities across the city equates to 1,443 hectares. This is spread across more than 400 sites including education facilities, city parks, recreation grounds and neighbourhood parks;
7.36 In order to evaluate the supply of outdoor sports facilities in more detail, Table 7.3 breaks down outdoor sports facilities by facility type. However, it is important to note that this study considers the provision of all the different types of outdoor sport facilities as one and does not break down the typology into more detailed assessments for each sport, for example playing pitches can be used for many sports. These more detailed sport specific assessments will be carried out by demand led studies such as the Playing Pitch Strategy.
Table 7.3 Total Provision of Outdoor Sports Facilities in Leeds by Analysis Area
7.37 It can be seen that:
• The distribution of both outdoor sports space and facilities is uneven. Most outdoor sports facilities in Leeds are located in the East Outer area, whereas West Inner contains the lowest provision;
• of the five facility types surveyed during the household survey, residents showed the greatest dissatisfaction with the quantity of tennis courts (33%), synthetic turf pitches (25%) and athletic tracks (36%). In contrast, residents perceive the provision of grass pitches (44%) and bowling greens (29%) to be about right. Over 13% of residents thought there were more than enough golf courses and 30% thought the quantity to be about right;
• when considering the level of satisfaction across the city, residents in the East Inner area showed the highest level of dissatisfaction with three of the six types of sports facilities, stating that there is insufficient provision of athletic tracks (47%), golf courses (28%), and bowling greens (40%);
• residents in the North East Outer area display the highest level of satisfaction in two of the six types of sports facilities, suggesting that there is sufficient provision (enough/about right amount) of grass pitches (64%) and golf courses (72%).
7.38 Active Places Power (a strategic planning tool provided by Sport England) enables the comparison of the provision of certain outdoor sports facilities with other areas.
As shown in Table 7.4 below, Leeds compares favourably to the Yorkshire and Humber Region and the national levels of provision. Leeds has more golf courses than both the national and regional levels. However, the provision per 1,000 population of athletics tracks and synthetic turf pitches is lower than the national average, but equal to the regional figure.
Table 7.4 - Outdoor Sports Provision at a Local, Regional and National Level
7.39 The distribution of specific facilities will be considered later in this section as part of the application of standards.
Setting provision standards Quantity
7.40 The recommended local quantity standard for outdoor sports facilities has been derived from the local needs consultation and audit of provision and is summarised below.
7.41 In line with the key themes emerging from the consultation, the standard for outdoor sports (excluding golf courses) is set at the existing level of city wide provision, reflecting the general satisfaction with most types of outdoor sports provision.
However, the main issue remains an unequal distribution, as highlighted in the above tables 7.2 and 7.3.
Current level of provision = 1.85 Hectares per 1,000 population Proposed level of provision = 1.85 Hectares per 1,000 population
7.42 This reflects the overall focus on a need to improve access to existing provision, rather than develop new facilities and to enhance the quality of existing sites. In many instances, facilities of improved quality will have a greater capacity for matches than existing poor to average quality sites, and as a consequence, can be opened up to a wider variety and number of users which can increase access to sites. Despite this, it is clear from the results of the local consultation that there are excessive demands being placed on grass pitches and a local perception that there are insufficient facilities for tennis. These specific areas of deficiency will be considered during the application of standards.
7.43 Golf courses have been removed from calculations due to their large size and subsequent tendency to skew figures. Although many school sports sites are not accessible at the current time, they are identified as important resources. School facilities have been included within the overall calculations, to ensure that their contribution is considered and there are policy measures which seek to improve community access.
Current provision Quality
7.44 The quality of existing outdoor sports facilities in the city was assessed through site visits and is set out in Table 7.5. It is important to note that site assessments are conducted as a snapshot in time and reflect the quality of the site on the day of the visit.
7.45 The site visits undertaken assess the outdoor sport site as a whole and do not specifically consider the degree to which individual facilities can be considered fit for purpose. Assessments considering this issue would be required as part of more detailed, facilities specific study, for example a playing pitch strategy would specifically examine the quality of the playing surface and changing rooms. Several sites were inaccessible (eg. primary schools).
7.46 Generally, the education establishments scored highest due to their higher than average maintenance, and in the case of the universities, the presence of on-site, full time grounds maintenance staff.
Table 7.5 – Quality of Outdoor Sports Facilities by Analysis Area
Setting provision standards Quality
7.48 The standard highlights the key aspirations of local residents and current users of sports facilities. The overall aspirational standard is set at a minimum of 7 out of 10 for all sites, but it is expected that many sites will exceed this average.
7.49 The Green Flag award for parks is assessed in two key ways, firstly by reviewing a site management plan, and secondly a field assessment based primarily on observation during a site visit. Each category is given a score out of 10, with a maximum of 30 points for the desk assessment and 70 points for the field assessment. To achieve the standard a minimum of 15 on the desk assessment and 42 on the field assessment is needed, however, an award can only be given if the overall score is greater than 65. The audit assessment for this study did not carry out a desk assessment due to the lack of a management plan for the vast majority of sites and reduced the field assessment to key, largely generic quality criteria applicable to open space sites, including outdoor sports.
7.50 As the PPG17 audit considered on-site quality using a field based assessment, the proposal is that the Green Flag quality standard, for the field assessment, is extended to all the open green space. To account for the absence of the desk assessment and retain the disproportionate Green Flag emphasis on an overall pass mark, it is proposed to set the quality standard at 7 out of 10, or 70%. The proposed standard is consistent with the approach for other open spaces in seeking to raise the overall quality of the site.
7.51 It is further proposed, that future quality assessments adopt specific facility related quality standards. Sport England have already developed non-technical visual quality tools which enable specific facility assessment of grass playing pitches and changing accommodation. Under these standards a score of 60% to 89% would achieve a ‘good’. Relevant facility demand studies such as the Playing Pitch Study will establish the appropriate quality standard for each individual sport facility. In addressing the quality of each sport facility available at a site, the overall quality will also be effected.
7.52 Publicly accessible outdoor sites are generally below, and in some cases, substantially below this standard. There are currently 233 (59%) outdoor sport sites that fall below the proposed overall quality standard. At present 161 (41%) sites are currently above 70%, reflecting the influence of education or private sites that have limited or no public access.
7.53 The outdoor sport site issues highlighted in both the site surveys and need
assessment consultation, include improvement to:
Current Provision Accessibility
7.54 To appreciate the accessibility of outdoor sports facilities, it is necessary to understand the nature of the provision. The majority of outdoor sports facilities in Leeds are effectively private, being provided on education sites. For example, the university sports grounds concentrate large numbers of good quality outdoor sports facilities in North West Leeds.
7.55 The table below illustrates the total numbers of facilities across Leeds. The average distance travelled (as the crow flies) from households to their nearest facility. The results of the 75th percentile show the distance travelled for three quarters of residents to access their nearest facility. This includes both the contribution from Education Leeds and the universities.
Table 7.6 Accessibility of All Outdoor Sport Facilities in Leeds
7.56 The analysis shows that access to sports facilities is generally good, with averages to the nearest playing pitch facility calculating at below 15 minutes walk. However, this is based on the assumption that residents use the nearest facility to where they live. In reality, this is rarely the case and the data should only be used as a general guide on overall accessibility when used in conjunction with other available information.
7.57 The influence of education controlled sporting facilities on the overall number of facilities is highly significant. There are 400 private playing pitches. The primary and secondary education sector account for 240 of these pitches, with further education, mainly the universities, accounting for an additional 42 pitches. The remaining 178 pitches are a combination of community and private sports clubs.
Setting provision standards accessibility
7.58 The accessibility of sites is paramount in maximising usage, as well as providing an opportunity for all people to use the site. The recommended local standard is set in the form of a distance threshold and is derived from the findings of the local consultations and other relevant information.
7.59 The expected method of travel highlighted in the household survey to grass pitches, tennis courts and bowling greens was on foot. To access golf courses, synthetic turf pitches and athletics tracks, respondents indicated that they expected to travel by car.