«Lists of figures, plans, tables and appendices ii Glossary vii Executive Summary viii 1 Introduction 1 2 Undertaking the Study 9 3 Strategic Context ...»
West Outer has one of the lowest provision ratios for equipped play areas with 1.59 facilities per 1,000 child population. Provision appears to focus on young children, with 15 Children’s equipped play spaces and 6 other facilities. Here 72% of households are within 15 minutes of equipped play provision. However, the distribution of children’s play areas leaves the communities of Farnley and Swinnow Moor with no access to facilities, although recent capital investment at Swinnow Moor has created a new children’s play area and a teen zone. The current quality of provision has only been assessed on the space which is not necessarily a reflection of the play facility itself. The average quality of green space sites with fixed play provision is 6.54 indicating that sites with such provision are of a better quality than the average amenity space and Park and Garden site. The priority should focus on improving the quantity and distribution of children’s fixed play areas.
Performance against the city average for the quantity of outdoor sports is above the standard at 2.07 hectares per 1,000 population. It has a surplus in overall outdoor sports provision of 15 hectares. All households are within a 10 minute drive of a council grass playing pitch and bowling green; 20 minutes drive to an athletics track, golf facility, bowling green and synthetic pitch. Only the communities of Swinnow Moor and northern Farnley have to walk further than 20 minutes to access an outdoor tennis court. Due to the influence of privately operated outdoor sports sites (including Education Leeds) the average quality score performs well at 6.56.
Raising the quality of existing sites should be the priority. Further sports specific demand led research needs to be undertaken to fully understand the detailed nature of the apparent surplus.
There are 7.88 hectares of in use allotment sites. The provision ratio of sites in use is one of the lowest at 0.11 hectares per 1,000 population. To achieve the proposed standard requires a further 9 hectares of allotment provision. Distribution of allotments is uneven with residents in Farsley, Calverley, New Farnley and the edges of Pudsey and New Wortley all outside the 15 minute walk time for access.
The average quality score for sites in use is above average at 5.44, but only 10% of sites achieve the quality standard. Application highlights the area is deficient in all aspects; the priority should be to create new sites in areas of greatest deficit and improve the quality of existing sites by tackling security and facilities provision such as a water supply.
There is 3.86 hectares per 1,000 population of natural green space, calculating at a surplus of 124 hectares when assessed against the standard.
Accessibility to natural sites is good, with 75% of households within 15 minutes walk of a natural site. Parts of Pudsey, Fartown and Farnley do not have access within a 15 minute walk time of a natural site. The average quality score is 4.46. None of the sites achieve the quality standard. Improving the quality of the existing spaces should be the priority focus.
There is only one council indoor leisure facility; Pudsey Leisure Centre. Most households have 15 minute public transport access to council sports halls, gyms, swimming pools, indoor tennis courts and council health and fitness gyms. This may be facilitated by the proximity of the sports centre to the bus interchange in Pudsey.
Access to public indoor bowls provision for the majority of households in the area is 45 minutes by public transport. Pudsey Leisure Centre was last refurbished in 1988 and requires considerable improvements to raise the standard from its current score of 3.
Planning Obligations and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
13.16 Assessments of need undertaken in relation to PPG17 should drive the future provision of open space, sport and recreation facilities. Planning contributions can be an important source of funding to ensure that provision of open space, sport and recreation facilities meet the aims and objectives of current and future residents, employees and visitors to Leeds.
13.17 With regards the use of planning obligations, paragraph 33 of PPG17 states:
“planning obligations should be used as a means to remedy local deficiencies in the quantity or quality of open space, sports and recreation provision.
Local Authorities will be justified in seeking planning obligations where the quantity or quality of provision is inadequate or under threat, or where new development increases local needs. It is essential that local authorities have undertaken detailed assessments of needs and audits of existing facilities, and set appropriate local standards in order to justify planning obligations.”
13.18 The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) came into force in April 2010 and has recently been followed by amended regulations in April 2011 (Statutory Instrument 2011 No. 987). CIL is a new levy that local authorities can choose to charge on new developments in their area. The money can be used to support development (including development which does not require planning permission), by providing ‘gap’ funding to provide infrastructure that is needed as a result of the development. It should be emphasised however, that the levy is intended to focus on the provision of new infrastructure and should not be used to remedy pre-existing deficiencies in infrastructure provision, unless those deficiencies will be made more severe by new development. The levy can be used to increase the capacity of existing infrastructure or to repair failing existing infrastructure, if that is necessary to support development.
13.19 The council will need to implement the levy on the basis of requirements set out in the Local Development Framework - Core Strategy and must produce a charging schedule setting out the levy’s rates in their area. A levy can be charged at a rate of £ per sq metre for most new development, which is transparent and non-negotiable to provide up front certainty of costs for developers. It should be noted also that under powers in the 2008 Planning Act, the CIL Regulations change the use of planning obligations (Section 106). After 2014, it will not be possible to secure off site S106 developer contributions for green space improvements.
13.20 As CIL will finance the wide range of infrastructure required for new development, green space will have to compete against other needed infrastructure for these funds. It is unlikely that CIL contributions will be protected for specific infrastructure purposes. The information and results available as a consequence of the preparation of this study will be essential to evidence the investment in open space, sport and recreation.
Applying the Standards to Non-Residential Development
13.21 It is reasonable to request provision of formal and informal public open space from employment and commercial development that is likely to generate increased demand for, and use of open space, sport and recreation infrastructure.
13.22 Paragraph 23 of PPG 17 refers to the use of obligations relating to new development “especially housing”, thus not excluding other uses. A number of planning authorities seek contributions in relation to employment and
commercial proposals. Examples from other authorities highlight:
• obligations can be sought in relation to office, shop, retail and warehouse proposals;
• local authorities normally employ cut off points, a common one being 1000 sq.m of gross floor space;
• assumed or actual occupancy is taken from local survey figures;
• authorities may request full contributions (e.g. Windsor and Maidenhead) or reduced contributions based on percentage of staff from outside the area (e.g. South Northamptonshire) or the percentage of the day assumed to be spent in the area (LB Camden);
• Other uses from which contributions may be sought include hotels, hostels and halls of residence, holiday parks, static caravan sites and dwellings subject to holiday let conditions (North Devon).
13.23 Seeking contributions from non-residential development as suggested above, would be consistent with the approach for residential development.
Commercial developments place pressure on existing open space and recreation facilities at lunchtime and after work. Users of these areas are not always residents of the city and additional demands are placed on local resources as a result. Assuming that workers commute a distance which is greater than the accessibility standards in this PPG17 assessment, they will contribute towards an increased level of demand on existing provision within that locality. It is recommended that the financial sum or direct provision sought corresponds to the expected number of net additional employees that would result from the proposal, based on the proposed use and the amount of floor space proposed.
13.24 This contribution needs to be guided by proposed local standards. There are
two calculations that can be made:
• Where quantitative or accessibility deficiencies exist in open space or recreational facilities in the area which cannot be provided for on site, the city council will accept a contribution in lieu of new provision to deliver new provision within the area; &
• The site is located in an accessible area of sufficient provision, but the quality does not meet the required standard then the contributions will be used to improve the quality of existing facilities and spaces to accommodate the additional demand created by the new development.
Conclusion and Summary of Recommendations
13.25 This study has been completed in accordance with the requirements of the latest Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 (PPG17) and its Companion Guide.
It provides an overview of the provision of open space, sport and recreation facilities across Leeds. The study brings together the results of a comprehensive audit of open space and recreation facilities across the city and the perceptions and opinion of residents and users of these facilities.
Additional relevant research and results have also been used to further inform the recommendations and proposed standards.
13.26 Leeds is fortunate to have a good supply of green space and recreation facilities which compare favourably to other cities and local authorities. The key issue to address is the uneven distribution of quality green space. Some areas have an abundance of certain types of open space. Despite this, the survey results indicate dissatisfaction with the amount of space, thus illustrating the complex issues which need to be considered such as location, layout and design. If any of these elements are not fully considered, the space may not be used or disregarded as a valuable community resource.
13.27 The results provide an invaluable tool in the formulation and implementation of planning policies. This relates to both the protection and enhancement of existing open space and the framework for developing planning obligations and its eventual replacement by CIL.
13.28 Open space and recreation provision will continue to change and evolve as the city grows. It is crucial that the information gathered for this study is monitored, shared and updated to enable a continued informed dialogue between the relevant stakeholders and affected communities.
13.29 The key actions which need to be addressed to implement the findings of this study appear in the table overleaf with identified delivery responsibilities and a proposed timescale for implementation.
13.31 The Delivery Partners abbreviations are as follows:
• PS Planning Services
• SDU Sustainable Development Unit
• FPI Forward Planning and Implementation
• P&C Parks and Countryside
• E&N Environment and Neighbourhoods
• P&SD Planning and Sustainable Development, incorporating the individual services of Planning Services, Sustainable Development Unit, Forward Planning and Implementation
6. Incorporate provision and accessibility standards for allotments, natural LCC – FPI Short spaces, council indoor sports facilities, children and young people’s equipped facilities
Action Point Delivery Partner/s Timescale
15. Establish a list of priority quality improvement projects containing outline LCC - P&C Short cost estimates which can be updated. The initial priorities should be LCC – FPI linked to priorities identified in the audit, to bring sites up to a ‘good’ LCC – Indoor Sports standard.
16. Continue the green space implementation group to progress the use of LCC - FPI Ongoing S106 contributions to drive up quality standards in parks and green LCC - P&C spaces. Use the NHS Active Planning Toolkit and local Joint Strategic NHS Needs Assessment (JSNA) data to assist in this process. The green space implementation group should consist of representatives who have an interest in the provision of open space, outdoor sport and recreation across the city. The role of this working group will prioritise improvement programmes, co-ordinate funding applications and work with developers to ensure provision meets local requirements. The group should share, and utilise the expertise of leisure and planning officers, to ensure that specific site development issues are fully considered, and the implications shared, before a planning decision is made.
17. Ensure that sport, leisure and open spaces are monitored on a continuing LCC - FPI Short basis and publish findings in terms of the quality and quantity of LCC - P&C provision, including successful projects resulting from the use of the NHS NHS Active Planning Toolkit and feedback from the community. It is important to monitor the quality of sites on a regular basis to ensure that the quality issues identified are improving and to act as a guide in updating investment priorities. This will allow user data to be collated and improvements to be tracked. Findings should be published to enable stakeholders to track progress.
18. Continue to develop the marketing information produced about the parks LCC - P&C Ongoing and open space facilities available, key activities accommodated and NHS access arrangements. Ensure that open space fulfils a valuable role in LCC - Youth Service meeting wider social objectives (e.g. Health improvement, increased active participation from programmes such as Parks4Life and Action Point Delivery Partner/s Timescale Change4Life).
19. Develop a central record of all open space, sport and recreation facilities LCC - FPI Medium to Long to include the findings of the assessments undertaken. The central LCC - P&C record should include access to GIS mapping and be updated regularly.
Prepare updates of demand led sports studies such as strategies for playing pitches, bowling greens and outdoor tennis. Make information available for the JSNA and accessible through the planned Leeds Observatory website.
20. Develop an access standard regarding physical access for disabled users LCC – P&C Short in agreement with local providers. Further detailed work required to assess sites for DDA compliance.
21. Continue to work towards reducing the incidences and opportunities of LCC - P&C Ongoing