Spatial planning has a fundamental role to play in ensuring that open space and sport and recreation facilities are in the right place with a sufficient quantity of them.

Spatial planning must also play a role in ensuring that such spaces and facilities are high quality, attractive to users and well managed and maintained.

The Open Space Audit 2015 records the position of open space at that time and served as an update to the Open Space Audit 2012.  The surveys were undertaken in June 2015 and it establishes quantitative, qualitative and accessibility standards for each of the adopted open space typologies and explains the assessment methodology behind the application of the standards.

Open Space Audit / Review 2012

The Open Space Audit 2012 recorded the quantitative position of open space at that time and served as a brief update to the Open Space Review 2006. The latter established quantitative, qualitative and accessibility standards for each of the adopted open space typologies, explaining the assessment methodology behind the application of the standards and providing worked examples of their application to aid developers.

Playing pitch strategy

The Warrington Playing Pitch Strategy (Update) 2020 is an update to the Warrington Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS) Assessment Report (completed in December 2018) and has been prepared by Knight Kavanagh & Page (KKP).

The 2018 Warrington PPS was formally adopted by the Council in June 2019.  However, the original supply and demand data was predominately collated in 2016 and as such it was recognised that there was a need to refresh the Study in 2019.  One of the key drivers for the update has been to have an added focus on disability and women/girls playing pitch sports to reflect the increase in demand in participation since the previous PPS.  Further, a Local Football Facility Plan has also been prepared for the Borough which seeks to identify potential opportunities for new and improved football provision.  

The Updated PPS has been prepared in line with paragraph 73 of the NPPF and in accordance with Sport England’s 'Playing Pitch Strategy Guidance: an approach to developing and delivering a playing pitch strategy' to reflect current best practice for the analysis of provision of sports facilities.

The Sport England guidance details a stepped approach to developing a Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS).  These steps are separated into five distinct sections:

  • Stage A: Prepare and tailor the approach (Step 1)
  • Stage B: Gather information and views on the supply of and demand for provision (Steps 2 & 3)
  • Stage C: Assess the supply and demand information and views (Steps 4, 5 & 6)
  • Stage D: Develop the strategy (Steps 7 & 8)
  • Stage E: Deliver the strategy and keep it robust and up to date (Steps 9 & 10)

The Updated Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS) consists of two documents:

  • The Warrington PPS Updated Assessment Report (Sept 2019); and
  • The Warrington PPS Strategy & Action Plan (Jan 2020).

The Warrington PPS Updated Assessment Report (Sept 2019) covers Stages A to C and presents a supply and demand assessment of playing pitch facilities.  It provides a clear picture of the balance between the local supply of, and demand for, playing pitches and other outdoor sports facilities.

The Warrington PPS Strategy & Action Plan (Jan 2020) builds upon the preceding updated Assessment Report (September 2019) to provide a robust strategic framework for the maintenance and improvement of existing playing pitches and ancillary facilities, along with the provision of new playing pitches and ancillary facilities where required, to meet the needs of the existing and future population within the borough for the life of the current adopted Local Plan (the Local Plan Core Strategy) and the new emerging Local Plan which will cover the period 2021 to 2038.

Sports Facilities Strategic Needs Assessment

The Warrington Sports Facilities Strategic Needs Assessment (SFSNA) as adopted by Executive Board in April 2015.  The document gives an understanding of the needs and demands of built sports facility provision within the borough.  The  Assessment provides us with a clear understanding of facility needs locally.  It takes into consideration all the provision that currently exists in Warrington and cross-references this with the current and future needs of the Borough’s population.

The assessment identifies and assesses the provision of the following key facility types:

  • Indoor swimming pools
  • Sports halls
  • Health and fitness suites
  • Specialist sporting facilities including athletics, cycling and indoor tennis

The key findings and actions focuses on Sports Facilities currently that we own, many of which are currently operated by external organisations through management arrangements.

The key findings can be summarised as follows:

  • There's a need to ensure investment is sought to support retention of viable existing sports facilities that provide or could provide for community use in particular where needs may not meet demand or may not do so in the future.
  • There's a need to focus on improving the sustainability of sports facility sites.
  • There's a need to influence new housing developments to contribute towards the development and enhancement of sports facilities to meet identified need and any increased demand generated by such developments.
  • There's a need to ensure appropriate investment is sought to maintain quality levels and assist with the retention of current and recruitment of new participants/ users.
  • There's a need to improve accessibility to sports facilities, in particular for people with disabilities, in order to encourage greater participation by all segments of the community.
  • There's a need to regularly review levels of supply and demand to identify any surpluses or deficiencies in the future.

Section 4 of the SFSNA outlines in more detail the key findings and resultant actions required for the specific facility types.

11 July 2024