Sport, Recreation and Play

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section E – Community Facilities

COM2 Sport, Recreation and Play (2016 Draft / 2017 Main Changes)

The following total quantum’s of recreational, play, sport and open space are required to meet the needs of the new development proposed in this Local Plan that do not already have planning permission (circa 7,000 new dwellings). These figures are derived from the emerging Sports Pitches and Indoor Sports Facility Strategy, alongside standards set out in the current Green Spaces and Water Environment SPD. They take into account planned provision that is earmarked to come forward, such as at Chilmington Green. The figures do not take take into account the role which could be played by provision at schools. This provision should be treated as supplementary as in most cases it tends to have limited public access at key times.

Table 4 – Total Spatial Target for play, open space and sports
Informal space 22.5ha 33.6ha
Children’s play 5.6ha 8.4ha
Strategic Parks 3.4ha 5.04ha
Allotment provision 2.2ha 3.6ha
Sports halls (1 badminton hall or equivalent) 4 6
3G Artificial Pitch 1
Football Pitches 7 adult, 3 junior 8 adult, 7 junior, 2 mini
Hockey 2G pitch 1 adult
Rugby 2 senior pitches
Cricket square and outfield 1

These figures are a ‘target’ as not all residential development coming forward will be required to deliver a proportion of these provisions. For example, some development will be excluded on viability grounds such as most proposals coming forward in the town centre, and a number of developments will fall below the threshold that trigger a requirement for provision. However, this is somewhat countered as CIL receipts can be used to deliver recreation, sport, play and open space, where it is strategic in nature. This type of provision effectively meets a need for all new developments in the Borough. Therefore the identification of a target figure is considered to be a robust starting point for the policy below.

In order to determine the quantum and type of provision required for each qualifying proposal, applicants will be expected to use the Sports England Calculator and the relevant standards in the Green Spaces and Water Environment SPD. Aside from informal space – which will normally be delivered on site and form part of the wider landscaping/ SUDs strategy, incidental space around buildings, discussions with the Council shall then take place as to what exact provision will be sort from any S106 monies to be collected, using the projects identified within the supporting Infrastructure Delivery Plan schedule as the starting point. The Sports England Calculator may also identify additional off-site requirements that need to be considered as well. Where appropriate, these will be added to the Infrastructure Delivery Plan as they are identified.

The Hub Approach

The Local Plan seeks to deliver a community hub model and the strategies emerging for recreation, sports, open space and play all recommend the same model. The sport and recreational hubs are identified on Strategic Diagram 2 which supports this Local Plan. They are:

Discovery Park: a new, major open space and recreational area that is proposed to include a number of sports pitches (including the provision for 3G pitches), a large scale indoor sports building, strategic play space and managed outdoor recreational space. The majority of Discovery Park will come forward in response to development at Chilmington Green and the area is protected as part of the Chilmington Green Area Action Plan, the provisions of which fall outside the scope of this Local Plan. However, an extension to Discovery Park is proposed to come forward as part of the Court Lodge development (policy S3).

Conningbrook Park: a new large water based recreational resource and facilities at Conningbrook Lakes and significant indoor sports provision in the form of the existing Julie Rose Stadium. Complementary provision in the form of strategic play space and informal space will also be provided here.

Ashford Town Centre: a key location for indoor sports provision within the Borough. The Stour Centre is the principal indoor sports facility within the borough and caters for a range of sports, including swimming, badminton, squash, netball and football. In addition the Town Centre is also home to green spaces in the form of Victoria Park, Memorial Gardens and the Green Corridor. The Town Centre will continue to be a key recreational and sporting hub over the plan period.

Finberry/ Park Farm: a community and leisure hub adjacent to the planned primary school that compliments the facilities planned at Bridgefield Park. This Hub aims to deliver a 3G state of the art sports pitch which will be supported by a multi-use play area, a community building with indoor sports courts and changing facilities.

Kingsnorth Recreation Centre: already a well established urban hub for the area and town. This could support an increase in the recreational and outdoor space offer located here.

Sandyhurst Lane: another site already offering social, community and sports provision (comprising two full size grass football pitches and one rugby pitch supported by a pavilion comprising four team and one officials changing room, bar and large function room). New provision is proposed which could include improved sports pitches, informal and natural green space and potentially allotment space.

]Spearpoint: a busy football hub already existing on this site and contains six grass pitches, a newly built pavilion and tennis courts. The courts are currently in poor condition. The aspiration is to refurbish the tennis courts and provide a major new play area. Further leisure development on this site could also be considered.

Pitchside/Courtside: Pitchside and Courtside are adjacent dual use sites in South Ashford on the campus of John Wallis Academy. Pitchside consists of a full size 3G pitch and two full size grass football pitches for community use. In addition the Academy grass playing field has a junior pitch, full size football pitch and full size rugby pitch which are available for occasional community use as demand dictates. Pitchside is supported by a 4 changing room pavilion. Courtside comprises six hard courts supported by a two changing room pavilion with meeting room and office. The primary use of the courts is for netball with tennis the main secondary use. This provides a key mixed use sports hub and has the potential to be extending and upgraded.

Local Provision

Not all of the provision of recreation, sport, open space and play areas will serve a wider catchment or play a strategic role. There are a number of local areas which fulfil a key role in meeting the everyday communities needs. These areas include Bridgefield Park, South Willesborough (Bulleid Place/Swan Centre), Singleton (Cuckoo Park/ Singleton Environment Centre), and Repton Park and Community Centre. These offer multi-use community space for local residents, children’s play and informal recreational open space. Hythe Road Recreation ground should be up-graded to provide a much needed quality open space for informal recreation including multi-use games area. When new development comes forward, there will remain a need to deliver provision at a local scale, to directly serve the community in which it is located.

Policy COM2 – Recreation, Sport, Play and Open Spaces

As a target, the Council shall seek to deliver the quantum of provision as new recreation, sport, play and open space provision by 2030 as set out in table 4 of this Local Plan.

Proposals will utilise the Sports England Calculator and comply with the standards set out within the Green Spaces and Water SPD, where practical.

Informal green space will normally be provided on site in line with the guidance and provisions contained within the Green Spaces and Water Environment SPD.

In Ashford, the provision of children’s play, strategic parks, allotments, sports facilities shall be concentrated on key allocated sites within this Local Plan or at the sports and recreation hubs identified above. Proposals which undermine the ability of a hub to play a role in delivering this provision shall not be supported.

Provision that meets a localised need shall normally be required to be delivered on-site in a way that supports the local community as it comes forward.

In the rural area, provision should normally be delivered in a way that helps maintain, enhance and potentially expand existing provision at the settlement where development is proposed, or at the nearest settlement.

In line with the provision within the NPPF eExceptions to the approach outlined above could be justified, should the following circumstances arise in that:

  • there is suitable open/ green space provision nearby and this provision can be accessed by green routes,
  • there is suitable sports provision nearby and this provision is accessible and the facility is able to and has the capacity to be used by the public at key times and this access can be secured over the long term at determination of the application,
  • delivering such provision would render a scheme unviable,
  • not delivering the required provision is supported by the Council or in agreement with the Parish Council.

In line with the provision within the NPPF, existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land should not redeveloped or used for other purposes, unless:

  • An assessment has been undertaken which clearly shows the provision is surplus to requirements, or
  • Any loss would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location,
  • The development is for an alternative sport and recreational provision, the needs for which clearly outweigh the loss.


  1. Bob Shrubb (Post author)

    South Ashford Community Forum has submitted a representation relating to this section of the Local Plan.

  2. Pingback: Ashford Local Plan to 2030 – South Ashford

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