«Lists of figures, plans, tables and appendices ii Glossary vii Executive Summary viii 1 Introduction 1 2 Undertaking the Study 9 3 Strategic Context ...»
7.60 Young people, and respondents to the key stakeholders workshop highlighted that cost issues were problematic when accessing outdoor sports facilities. However, the greatest barrier in the sports club surveys were stated as booking difficulties.
7.61 There are several factors to consider in setting a standard for outdoor sports facilities. In particular, the range of facilities that lie within this typology makes it difficult to set a meaningful standard that can be applied across the board as per PPG17 requirements. For example, residents have significantly different expectations for synthetic turf pitches (to which they are willing to travel further) than they do for grass pitches (where there is a presumption of more localised provision).
It is also important to consider how the pitches are used and by whom. Sports clubs will travel further to access formal sport facilities; 50% of a team’s season comprises of away game travel and transportation of associated equipment. However, informal use of a playing field for kick about or walking the dog is likely accessed by walking, but the green space need not necessarily be a formal marked out playing field. An area of amenity space could be more appropriate for these informal uses.
7.62 Findings from local consultation suggest a combination of standards. A walk time standard has been set for tennis courts. Whilst the majority of respondents to the household survey expected to walk (56%) to a tennis court, most on-street respondents expected to drive (50%). The 75th percentile result was 15 minutes walk. For those that would expect to travel by car, the 75th percentile result was also 15 minutes.
7.63 Expectations are higher in terms of playing pitches than other types of facility. The third quartile for pitches in the household survey is 10 minutes walk, but the on-street survey is 15 minutes walk. The third quartile for bowling greens is 15 to 20 minutes walk.
Recommended Accessibility Standards
7.64 For athletics tracks and golf courses, the third quartile is a 20 minute drive. STPs provided mixed results of a 15 to 20 minute walk or 20 minute drive.
7.65 The modal responses and average responses indicate that there are higher expectations from those who walk. However, it is important to balance these expectations with the delivery of quality and fit for purpose facilities. Consultation indicates that this is as important as localised facilities. Consultation and information collected by the council at other times suggests that many residents drive to formal sports facilities. The provision of accessible facilities at school sites is instrumental in the effective delivery of expectations surrounding quality outdoor sports facilities.
7.66 The standard for tennis courts generally reflects the outcomes of the needs assessment. However, the walk time has been extended to 20 minutes to reflect operational delivery. Not every park or recreation ground will offer a tennis court facility due to lack of demand and, therefore, ultimately the level of use. Therefore, the standard needs to be greater than the 15 minutes walking access time set for Parks and Gardens. A drive time is not appropriate given the preference from the needs assessment for walking access. In addition, the equipment needed for tennis can easily be carried on foot or using public transport.
7.67 The 10 minutes drive time accessibility standard reflects the formal use of grass playing pitches and bowling greens. The majority of users travel to these facilities by car despite the existing widespread distribution. The needs assessment reveals that 89% of sports and recreation clubs reported the majority of their members mode of travel to sports venues was by car. This is possibly a reflection of the away game nature of formal sports leagues and the equipment required to participate in some sports.
7.68 The council policy in the existing playing pitch strategy is to encourage community hub sites for sporting facilities so that the provision of capital infrastructure such as changing accommodation can be shared and better utilised. The existing and proposed hub site locations, along with details of their recreation facilities are listed at Appendix E. In encouraging shared facilities, hub sites discourage proliferation of small single facility sites, such as a site with only one pitch.
7.69 Of those needs assessment respondents who expected to travel by car to playing pitches, most expect to travel between 5 to 10 minutes. For those respondents who expect to access bowling greens by car, the most common response from respondents to the needs assessment was 10 minutes.
7.70 A longer, 20 minutes drive time has been set for golf courses, athletics tracks and synthetic pitches. These standards have been recommended in line with the expected travel modes from the needs assessment and to reflect the specialist nature of these facilities.
Applying provision standards
7.71 Given the broad nature of the outdoor sports facilities typology, standards should only be applied to provide an indication of planning need. In light of the demand-led nature of each type of facility, specific studies identifying the nature of facilities required should be carried out to supersede this standard and provide further detailed evidence for informed decision making ie. a revised playing pitch assessment for playing pitches.
7.72 The application of the recommended quality, quantity and accessibility standards helps to understand the existing distribution of outdoor sports facilities and identify areas where provision is insufficient to meet local need.
7.73 The quantity standards enable the identification of areas that do not meet the minimum provision standards, while the accessibility standards will help determine where those deficiencies are of high importance. Applying the standards together is a more meaningful method of analysis, than separate application.
7.74 Table 7.7 below summarises the application of the quantity standard for outdoor sports facilities. As highlighted, the broad range of facilities included within this typology means that the application of a quantity standard provides only an indication of provision. The type of facility that is most appropriate for a given area will be derived from expressed demand and local participation trends. These decisions should be made on a site by site basis, locally.
7.75 The figures in the table show the application of the proposed standard of 1.9 hectares per 1,000 population against the existing outdoor sport provision and 2008 mid-year population estimate and each of the potential growth scenarios. The positive figures show the number of hectares which exceed the applied standard and the negative figures show the deficiency against the proposed standard for that area.
Table 7.7 Application of Quantity Standard for Outdoor Sport Facilities to show Deficits and Surplus by Analysis Area
7.77 These calculations do not take into account the targeted 1% increase in participation per annum. If this increase occurred, unmet demand would increase. As highlighted, in light of the range of facilities included within this typology, consideration should be given to the application of the quantity standard for broad planning need only.
Analysis of Outdoor Sports by Facility
7.78 The application of the local accessibility standards for outdoor sports facilities is set out overleaf in plans 7.2 to 7.7. These plans use the geographic extent of the site in which the facility is located to illustrate access. This is appropriate because the site entrance, car park, changing rooms etc are frequently not adjacent to the recreation facility.
7.79 The key issues arising from the accessibility mapping regarding the provision of
outdoor sports facilities are:
• nearly all residents in Leeds have good access to a grass pitch within the target 10 minute drive time. An area of deficiency exists in the rural area of Outer North East;
• there are several significant areas of the city which are not within 20 minute walk of a tennis court. The city centre, Outer West, Outer North West and Outer South have further to travel;
• access to bowling greens is limited in specific rural areas of North East Outer, although these areas have little or no population;
• nearly all residents are within a 20 minute drive of an athletics track, except those from North East Outer and North West Outer.
7.80 Since the audit, the BSF programme has created high quality outdoor sports facilities across the city. There is specific provision within the contracts for access by the local community.
7.81 While consideration of the distribution of facilities is important, it is important to balance the desire to ensure that all residents have local access to facilities with the logistics of providing high quality facilities. Sites containing multiple facilities are more cost effective as well as providing greater opportunities for residents.
7.82 It is important to consider access to sport and recreation for residents with disabilities. The provision of open space, sport and recreation facilities can play a key role in maintaining and increasing the good levels of participation for disabled residents in the city.
Applying the quality, quantity and accessibility standards
7.83 Quantity standards enable the identification of areas that do not meet the minimum provision standards, while the accessibility standards help determine where those deficiencies are of high importance. Quality standards outline the key aspirations of local residents and provide an indication as to where sites may currently fall below expectations.
7.84 Outdoor sports facilities provide important sport and recreation opportunities for local residents and can contribute to improving participation levels and health. The role of many outdoor sports facilities in Leeds takes on even greater importance, as many of the larger recreation grounds have a dual function as a park.
7.85 Consultation indicated that while the quantity of facilities is an issue in some areas, there is a real need to improve the quality of many existing sites. In many instances, improvements to the quality of existing sites will impact on the capacity of the facility.
A facility that is able to sustain more games will serve the local community to a greater extent and indeed, a high quality facility is more likely to encourage residents to participate. Overall, city wide quantity is perceived to be about right by the Leeds community, although clearly issues of distribution persist, however, improvements to the quality of provision should be prioritised in the short term, over an increase in provision.
Grass Playing Pitches
7.86 Analysis of the provision of outdoor sports facilities in the city indicates that there are just over 400 sites that contain grass pitches. The majority of these sites, however, are education facilities that provide limited public access. The influence of education controlled sporting facilities on the overall number of facilities is highly significant.
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.
7.87 The council’s Parks and Countryside Service control the letting of 281 pitches. In the 2010/11 season, 77% of the playable pitches available (216 of 281) are currently let to teams. These 216 pitches are let to 465 teams. Of the remaining 89 pitches which are not let, 15 are cricket pitches which at the time of the analysis were out of season.
7.88 There has been a steady reduction in demand for pitch lettings through the parks service in recent years. In the 2005/06 season, 554 teams requested pitches. The number of teams has steadily reduced in every year since, to 465 teams in the 2010/11 season; a 14% decrease in 5 years.
7.89 In addition to letting pitches on a seasonal basis, the council also lease and licence clubs to use pitches on a longer term arrangement. There are 66 pitches at 27 sites which are covered under these longer term arrangements.
7.90 The quality of grass pitches in Leeds was one of the overriding criticisms raised
during the consultation. Key issues arising are:
• lack of drainage at sites in areas prone to flooding or water logging
• poor quality changing accommodation
• lack of pitches with access to changing facilities
• vandalism and misuse at sites including dog fouling and littering
• lack of floodlighting (particularly relating to use during winter months)
• changing demands for pitches arising from an increase in the number of female teams. Due to child protection and Sport England guidelines, female changing requires separate rooms.
7.91 Grass pitches not only serve a recreation purpose, but are also instrumental in providing informal opportunities and are often used as park land. However, it is this dual use which generates many of the quality issues raised above. For example, dog fouling is easily resolved if more dog owners were responsible for their animals.
7.92 Provision of additional quality changing facilities is a capital intensive and longer term objective. The council policy in the existing playing pitch strategy is to encourage community hub sites for sporting facilities so that the provision of capital infrastructure such as changing accommodation can be shared and better utilised.