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10.12 Recent closures to South Leeds Sports Centre and East Leeds Leisure Centre in November 2010 and April 2011 respectively will have implications on the provision and access to council indoor facilities. In considering the results of the consultation, it must be noted that these exercises were undertaken prior to these recent closures. Where possible tabulated data on facilities and provision reflects these closures.
10.13 The key consultation exercises regarding Leeds City Council leisure provision and
the wider indoor sport provision in the city are:
10.14 Participation levels from the Needs Assessment across Leeds revealed:
• 53% of household survey respondents and 35% of on-street survey respondents reported using indoor sports facilities once a month or more.
• 34% of household survey respondents and 25% of on-street survey respondents using outdoor sports facilities once a month or more often.
10.15 This chapter examines the following indoor facilities in detail. These were considered the most popular facilities, consequently there is available participation data which allows meaningful assessment. Other facilities are mentioned in the consultation results, such as ice rinks, but are not examined in detail.
Facility Definition from Active Places Power Swimming Enclosed area of water, specifically maintained for all forms of water pool based sport & recreation. Includes general swimming, teaching, training, diving, club use and school use. Includes indoor and outdoor pools, freeform leisure pools, specific diving tanks. Where an area of a pool is normally cordoned off as a purpose-built off-shoot of the main rectangular tank, e.g. diving section off a main pool, it is treated as a separate pool.
Sports Hall Indoor multi-sports hall where a range of sport and recreational activities are carried out. 2 or more of the sport and recreational activities must be from the list of Activities, one or more of which must be on at least a weekly basis. One hall per site must be at least 10m x 18m, the size of one badminton court including surrounding safety area. Includes specifically designed sports halls, such as leisure centres and school sports halls, and also additional halls where activities can take place, such as school assembly halls, community buildings and village halls. Specialist centres, e.g. dance centres, are not included.
Health & Normally a minimum of 20 stations, although some small health & fitness Fitness suites may be included (health and fitness on Active Places).
Gym Indoor Covered or indoor tennis courts, includes stand alone indoor tennis Tennis structures, purpose built tennis centres and indoor courts connected to Court other sports facilities, such as sports clubs. To only include dedicated indoor tennis courts, and not multi use halls or outdoor MUGA's which are marked out as tennis courts.
Indoor Permanent indoor facility which contains a carpeted bowls green area.
Bowls Rink Can be a purpose built bowls centre or dedicated bowls area within a sports facility. The bowls green area must be specifically constructed for bowls use. Does not include short matt bowls areas, which are temporarily laid out in multi purpose halls.
10.16 Key findings from consultation, separated into quantity, quality and accessibility
PPG17 Needs Assessment:
• Most respondents consider current provision to be adequate for the following types of indoor sports facility – sport halls, indoor bowls, private gyms and racket sport facilities.
• However, a relatively large proportion (more than one third) of respondents think there are not enough swimming pools, council run gyms and ice rinks.
• In particular, a higher proportion of respondents from East Inner, East Outer and North East Inner analysis areas consider there are not enough swimming pools.
• North East Outer analysis area consider there to be not enough council run gyms.
• West Inner and South Outer analysis areas consider there to be not enough ice rinks.
• Survey responses from children/young people and councillors suggests a need for additional indoor sport provision. 33% of children considered there to be enough indoor sports facilities near their home compared to 25% that did not. 53% considered the quality of the indoor sports facilities to be good.
24% considered that they were sometimes unclean and could be better.
• The general consensus amongst key stakeholders (meeting of organisational stakeholders such as Sport England etc) is that there is adequate community provision with some over provision in certain areas.
However, the aging stock needs refurbishment/upgrading and access for people with disabilities requires improving.
• Feedback from council staff about the quantity of indoor facilities was split between very good/good 32%, average 26% and poor/very poor 32%.
Feedback on the quality was also split between very good/good 27%, average 35% and poor/very poor 26%.
Vision for Council Leisure Centres
• In order to determine a city-wide opinion for Leeds City Council Leisure Centres, a Citizens’ Panel was conducted.
• Half (49%) of panel members, said they have used a swimming pool, gym, sport or leisure centre in Leeds in the last 12 months. Out of those that have used a swimming pool, gym, sport or leisure centre in Leeds in the last 12 months, 64% said this was a council-run facility.
• Respondents were most likely to disagree that they would be prepared to travel further for a LCC leisure centre that had a wider range of facility provision and is better quality (43%).
• To assess children and young people’s opinions the Youth Council was consulted; they did not express any opinion on the quantity of facilities.
Swimming Pools and the Facilities Planning Model:
• The Sport England FPM models demand in the city for swimming pools, taking into account local demographic factors; particularly age and access to a car. The model then takes the existing swimming pool stock, publicly available times at those pools and journey times of up to 20 minutes (walking, public transport and car), and calculates how much of that demand could turn into swims.
• The model identifies 30 pools in the city (18 of which are Leeds City Council pools) that are 20m in length or more. It excludes a large number of smaller private pools largely concentrated to the centre and West Leeds.
• The model uses data at super output level and applies demand and supply factors (typical of such areas from national research) in order to present the picture for Leeds. The model was tested against 10 scenarios, based on the 4 original proposals (for the leisure centre network). The model has assumed that participation increases by 1% per annum to 2014 in-line with Government targets. The model also allows for Office of National Statistics estimated changes in population to 2014.
• The Facilities Planning Model indicated a strategic over-supply of swimming pools in the city. It also identified issues with some Leeds City Council pool catchment areas overlapping. However, it also makes clear that the needs of communities on low incomes and with low car ownership needs to be considered.
PPG17 Needs Assessment:
• Perception of the quality of indoor sports facilities were mixed, whilst a relatively large proportion consider them to be average/good (68%), many residents also made comments suggesting the need for improvements.
• The quality of indoor sport provision was also raised as an issue by councillors, sport clubs and key stakeholders.
• Generally all the Leeds City Council studies (Vision for Council Leisure Centres, KPMG Future Options for the Councils Sports Centres 2000, Leeds City Council Conditions Surveys and the Strategic Leisure Supply Demand Review) have highlighted the need for improvements to the quality of Leeds City Council Leisure Centres.
• General issues coming from the survey were poor quality changing facilities, safety/age of equipment, vandalism/graffiti and litter problems.
• Safety/ fear of crime can sometimes be an issue at indoor sports facilities.
• The most important features of indoor sports provision were cleanliness, cost, range of activities, maintenance, and welcoming staff.
Vision for Council Leisure Centres:
• Through the Citizens’ Panel Survey more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said the quality/condition of current Leeds City Council Leisure Centre buildings is high or of reasonable quality. A similar proportion (29%) said they feel they are low or very low quality.
• Overall, respondents were most likely to agree that LCC Leisure Centres should be of the highest quality (87%).
• The Youth Council expressed the opinion that cleanliness, quality and design of leisure centre buildings in the city were not seen to be achieving the requirements of young people in the city.
Swimming Pools and the Facilities Planning Model:
• This assessment reflected that the quality of the swimming pool is a significant participation factor. Within the model this was reflected through the refurbishment dates of facilities and latent demand was reduced to reflect the pool condition.
10.18 Based on the research findings and in particular 75th percentile results for household and on-street survey consultation suggest that the council should
consider setting the following access standards:
• - swimming pools: 15 minute walk or 15-20 minute drive • - sports halls: 15-20 minute walk or 15 minute drive;
• - indoor bowls: 20 minute walk or 20 minute drive;
• - private gym: 15-20 minute drive or 15 minute walk;
• - council gym: 15-20 minute walk or 15-20 minute drive;
• - racket sports: 15 minute walk or 15-20 minute drive;
• - ice rink: 30-40 minute drive.
• The majority (89%) of clubs and organisations report that their member’s primary method of travel to facilities is by car. The next most popular method is walking.
• The majority of clubs and organisations (88%) expect to travel 20 minutes or less to participate in organised sport.
• Respondents to the survey are particularly keen for the city centre to have greater provision of indoor sports facilities. Although, in terms of certain typologies, analysis indicates good provision of private facilities.
10.19 The current accessibility of council provision is illustrated at Table 10.2 below. The information uses the address details provided by Leeds Card users to calculate the distance travelled between their registered address and the council leisure facility they use.
Table 10.2 Distance Travelled to Use Council Leisure Facilities in 2010/11 based on Leeds Card Data
Vision for Council Leisure Centres:
• Young people seem to be quite flexible in terms of their propensity to find, travel and use leisure centres. However, it is important to note that bus routes were consistently highlighted as a key factor.
• In terms of the Citizens’ Panel respondents were most likely to disagree that they would be prepared to travel further for a LCC leisure centre that had a wider ranging provision and is better quality (43%).
• However, respondents also responded positively to having fewer, higher quality leisure centres in accessible locations.
10.21 As stated earlier in this chapter, most of the data available relates to council leisure
provision. Key findings relating to council leisure centres is presented below:
Council Leisure Centres Children and Young People
10.22 Through the Vision for Council Leisure Centres, Children’s Services highlighted that the key issue was the need for more joined up planning and services through capital developments, for example, the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ sport developments.
10.23 The Youth Council were asked for their opinions in relation to Leeds City Council
Leisure Centres. The key responses were as follows:
• Leisure centres are clearly valued and the Youth Council wants to see them developed, tackle youth issues and work more closely with other services.
10.24 The PPG17 Companion Guide emphasises that design and management are factors integral to the successful delivery of a network of high quality sport and recreation facilities, stating that, ‘quality depends on two things: the needs and expectations of users, on the one hand, and design, management and maintenance on the other.’
10.25 The quality standard for indoor sports facilities should reflect the views and aspirations of the local community and should be linked to the national benchmark and design criteria. The views and aspirations of the community were highlighted earlier in this section and the suggested essential and desirable features of an
indoor sports facility were:
• range of activities;
• welcoming staff.
10.26 The quality of existing Leeds City Council Leisure Centres can be summarised as
• Morley and Armley Leisure Centres have both recently been re-built through the Private Finance Initiative, providing two high quality modern facilities (2010). Additionally, John Smeaton Leisure Centre, Manston has been rebuilt through the New Opportunities Fund again creating a modern high quality facility (2007).
• There has been significant investment at John Charles Centre for Sport with a new 50 metre swimming pool (Aquatics) opening in 2007; additionally, the three other facilities at the site are high quality and modern.