Job search
Job Search

Active Environments: Planning guidance

Sport England has published new planning guidance, produced in partnership with David Lock Associates, that aims to make it simpler for local authorities and planning bodies to develop community sports facilities. Steph Eaves talks to Sport England’s Charles Johnston and DLA’s Joseph Carr about the new guidance

by Steph Eaves, Health Club Management and Sports Management | Published in Sports Management 2019 issue 3
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
Left: Charles Johnston is director of property at Sport England. Right: Joseph Carr is an associate at David Lock Associates
Left: Charles Johnston is director of property at Sport England. Right: Joseph Carr is an associate at David Lock Associates

Why was new planning guidance needed?
Johnston: Our new planning for sport guidance is being released for three reasons:

Firstly, to update our current planning guidance in light of the government’s revised National Planning Policy Framework released in 2018. The Framework sets out the government’s planning policies for England and how they should be applied. For our guidance to be a valued and useful resource we need to ensure it keeps up with changes to government planning policy and guidance.

Secondly, to place greater emphasis on the positive role the planning system can play in helping to create active environments. And finally, to bring our previous planning for sport guides together to provide a new single focal point for our all our planning guidance and tools..

Carr: The links between our health and wellbeing and the environment in which we live are well established. The health and wellbeing of our nation is vital, and the built environment plays a critical role in promoting sport and physical activity by making activity a cornerstone of people’s everyday lives.

The government’s Sport Strategy, National Planning Policy and Guidance recognises that promoting sport and physical activity is a critical factor in creating successful places. However, while a significant amount of work exists that illustrates best practice examples, there was a lack of planning-focused guidance, with easy to follow principles and actions to show everyone how to plan for sport.

What are the main aims of the guide?
Carr: To provide an up-to-date, easily understandable and comprehensive guide for all those who interact with the planning system to understand the importance of planning for sport and physical activity. The guide is designed specifically for its users, providing easy steps for everyone to be able to plan for sport, or be involved in the process.

We were especially keen to ensure the guide was relatable to those less often involved in the planning process, and for the guide to be commercially aware and useable by the development community. Private developers often deliver the spaces we are trying to shape, so it is essential that they understand both how to plan to meet the needs which a Local Planning Authority has identified, but also that planning for sport and physical activity can have benefits, both commercial and social.

Johnston: The main aim is to provide a useful resource to help people influence the planning system for the benefit of sport and physical activity, whether they work in the planning system on a daily basis or engage with it from time to time.

Additionally, we hope the guidance will help raise further awareness of the importance of the planning system in encouraging people to take part in sports and lead active lives.

How important is the planning and design of facilities to getting and keeping people active?
Carr: Absolutely essential. Positive planning and design of a facility can not only make a facility more functional, but can also encourage people to come and use it.

Facility design is not the only important part – the wider environment in which a facility is located is just as important for encouraging users. Provision of attractive walking and cycling routes, drinking fountains and cycle parking in and around facilities can all have a positive impact. We encourage our clients to think strategically about their sites and what they can offer to the wider community, which in turn can attract users to their sites, and also create spaces for the community to be proud of.

Johnston: The places that people get active are critical drivers of our nation’s activity levels. We know the planning system plays a key role in shaping our neighbourhoods and community facilities. More than ever, the importance of where people are being, or want to be, active is a focal point of discussion.

The planning system has a strong direct influence over the nature, design and attractiveness of the local facilities and spaces available to people, the design of their neighbourhoods, easy access to sports facilities as well as the viability of walking or cycling as a means of transport.

How did you decide on the 12 principles?
Johnston: We started by listing the key areas where we felt the planning system should play a role. This list looked back at the content of our previous planning guidance and our experience of engaging with the planning system on a daily basis. We then looked to see if we could group any together where they overlapped.

The nature of the principles also benefitted from the consultation we undertook on a draft version of the guidance – we received approximately 400 comments from local authorities, national sports governing bodies, planning and leisure consultancies, government departments and a range of other organisations such as the Town and Country Planning Association, Public Health England, Sustrans, Canals and River Trust, Active Partnerships, StreetGames and the London Playing Fields Foundation.

Carr: We tried to make the principles as comprehensive as possible, covering both plan-making and decision-making in the planning process, with easy-to-follow actions held within the principles to make them relatable and usable by everyone.

What do you see as the key to successfully planning new spaces for sports and activity?
Carr: Personally, I think the key is to undertake a comprehensive and strategic approach, not undertaking work in piecemeal chunks. Spaces should be flexible, to allow them to shift in use over time to meet new demand, as well as being well supported and maintained to make sure they continue to thrive. We should be ambitious with the spaces we create, but make sure they are realistic and functional to stand the test of time.

Johnston: Recognising how providing for sport and physical activity can help to meet wider local priorities and understanding local communities and their needs – knowing how people currently participate in sport and physical activity but also for example, what provision and environments may help those that are inactive to make the first steps to becoming active.

The 12 planning-for-sport principles

1. Recognise and give significant weight to the benefits of sport and physical activity.

2. Undertake, maintain and apply robust and up-to-date assessments of need and strategies for sport and physical activity provision, and base policies, decisions and guidance upon them.

3. Plan, design and maintain buildings, developments, facilities, land and environments that enable people to lead active lifestyles.

4. Protect and promote existing physical activity provision and ensure new development does not prejudice its use.

5. Ensure long-term viable management and maintenance of new and existing sport and physical activity.

6. Support improvements to existing sport and physical activity provision where they are needed.

7. Encourage and secure wider community use of existing and new sport and physical activity provision.

8. Support new provision, including allocating new sites, for sport and physical activity which meets identified needs.

9. Ensure a positive approach to meeting the needs generated by new development for sport and physical activity provision.

10. Provide sport and physical activity provision which is fit for purpose and well designed.

11. Plan positively for sport and physical activity provision in desigated landscapes and the green belt.

12. Proactively address any amenity issues arising from sport and physical activity developments.

To read the full guidance, visit http://lei.sr/G7G2D

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Sports jobs
Everyone Active
featured job

Swimming Teachers

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive hourly rate
Job location: Nationwide

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up To £20,844 PA (based on 39 hours per week)
Location: East Road, Sleaford NG34 7EH, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA based on 39 hours per week
Location: Prestwood, Great Missenden HP16 9QY, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,008 per annum (40 hours a week pro rata)
Location: Vauxhall, South West London

Assistant Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £31,251 per annum (based on 39 hrs per week)
Location: Faringdon, Oxfordshire, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,008 per annum (40 hours a week pro rata)
Location: Barnet, North London

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £10.55 per hour
Location: New Addington, Croydon, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,008 per annum
Location: New Addington, Croydon, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,008 per annum
Location: Redhill, Surrey, UK

Receptionist

Legacy Leisure
Salary: Competitive
Location: Brackley, UK
recruiting with sports management

Swimming Teacher

GLL
Salary: Up to £16.89 per hour (including annual leave)
Location: Crystal Palace, London, UK

General Manager

Lex Leisure
Salary: Up to £40K plus generous bonus arrangements.
Location: Tilgate, Crawley, UK

Receptionist

Parkwood Leisure
Salary: Competitive
Location: Merthyr Tydfil, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £25,655 per annum
Location: Ruislip, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,008 per annum
Location: Greenwich, London, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,008 per annum
Location: Kentish Town, London, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £25,655 per annum
Location: Kentish Town, London, UK
recruiting with sports management

Assistant General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: Competitive salary plus benefits
Location: Catford, London, UK

Leisure Centre Supervisor

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 per annum
Location: Belfast, UK

Receptionist

Legacy Leisure
Salary: Competitive
Location: Exeter, UK

Contract Maintenance Manager

Everyone Active
Salary: circa £33k
Location: Harrow, UK

Corporate Sales Manager (New Business)

GLL
Salary: Up to £35,952 per annum
Location: Brixton, London, UK

Team Leaders

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive Rate of Pay
Location: Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

Maintenance Manager

Parkwood Leisure
Salary: Up to £31,000 per annum
Location: Whitechapel, London, UK
training with sports management

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £10.55 per hour
Location: Archway, London, UK

Front-end Developer

The Gym Group
Salary: Competitive Salary
Location: Croydon, UK

Gymnastics Coaching Assistant

Wiltshire Council
Salary: £10.54 - £11.19 per hour
Location: Salisbury, UK

Sales Advisor

Lex Leisure
Salary: Competitive
Location: Sidcup, UK

Catering Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £31,251 per annum (based on 39hrs per week)
Location: Manchester, UK

Community Sports Officer

GLL
Salary: Up to £20,844 p.a (pro rata to 30 hrs per week)
Location: Rugby, Warwickshire, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Buckinghamshire, Gerrards Cross, UK
lifeguard jobs  swimming teacher jobs  recreation assistant jobs  apprenticeships jobs  personal trainer jobs  Gymnastics Coach jobs  duty manager jobs  assistant manager jobs  general manager jobs  assistant general manager jobs  Catering Assistant jobs  Customer Services Advisor jobs 
More jobs

Video Gallery

Wattbike
The choice of the elite. Wattbike introduced the first true indoor bike in 2008, changing indoor cycling forever. Developed in association with world class coaches and athletes, and now chosen by the world’s premier health clubs, cycling studios, and personal trainers as well as universities, the military, and countless athletes and coaches across the world, Wattbike has truly revolutionised indoor cycling. Want to join our revolution? Power up your business with Wattbike.
Visit website
More videos

Company profile

Company profile: Pavigym
PAVIGYM is the premier innovator of flooring and interactive solutions for the global fitness industry.
View full profile >
More company profiles

Featured Supplier

Harlands Effect: Make Your Business More Profitable
Harlands Group is a membership management service for health and fitness operators, which interacts directly with members to effectively manage membership payments.
View full details >
More featured suppliers

Diary dates

10-12 Dec 2019
tbc, Fort Lauderdale, United States
21-23 Jan 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
More diary dates