Policy WS/CF: Community, sports and leisure facilities

DRAFT version for various committee meetings.

We are currently testing our new digital plan platform - please provide us your feedback

What will this policy do?

This policy will set out what new community (including culture, education and healthcare), sports, and leisure facilities should be provided and sustained through new development. Open space is addressed separately by BG/EO.

Education in this policy relates to early years, primary, secondary and further education provision for all children and young people, including those with special educational needs and/or disabled people, where residential elements may form part of the provision.

Proposed policy direction

This policy will support the development of new facilities in appropriate locations where there is a local need for the facilities, and they are in close proximity to the people they will serve. They will also need to take account of what already exists in the area and should not undermine their long-term viability. New or replacement major facilities serving the city, or where appropriate the sub region, would need to follow the sequential approach to main town centre uses established by national planning policy, and be located in sustainable, accessible locations. Existing facilities and services will continue to be protected, where the loss would cause an unacceptable reduction in the quality, capacity or access in the locality. The loss of facilities will only be supported if they are either suitably replaced or it can be satisfactorily proven they are no longer needed.

The Local Plan will require appropriate community, cultural, education, sports and leisure provision to meet the needs generated by new developments. The scale and range of this provision or contribution will need to address a wide variety of needs, maximising access for all ages and abilities. These also need to reflect changing approaches to service delivery, for example with community hubs where a variety of different complementary services can be grouped together efficiently.

In large scale developments and new communities, community development strategies will be required, to explore how places will become communities, and how early residents will be supported. These strategies may include cultural and public art activities, to help bring together new communities at an early stage of their development and should help foster greater community interaction and place making. It is also important that social infrastructure, provided to support new residential developments is provided in both appropriate locations and a timely manner.

Why is this policy needed?

Community, cultural, education, sports and leisure services and facilities play an important role in making places vibrant, healthy and sustainable. These are important in both new and established settlements.

The provision of community and cultural facilities play a key role in the both the development and day-to-day life of local communities. They allow a broad range of local activities to be organised and hosted, encouraging greater social interaction between people including with those who might otherwise not talk to each other. These activities bring people together and create much more cohesive and resilient communities.

Easy access to good quality educational provision is important for supporting economic growth, developing strong sustainable communities, promoting economic prosperity and sustaining quality of life. Similarly, access to sports and leisure facilities/sites is important for encouraging and supporting people to follow heathy lifestyles as well as developing social cohesion and interaction. It is therefore important that new and replacement facilities support new and existing communities, respectively. These should also facilitate the growth of the area by providing sufficient capacity to accommodate community need and demand.

Policies are needed to ensure these facilities and services are delivered to support new development. Appropriate care is also needed to ensure new facilities do not undermine existing facilities. It is also equally important to ensure these are protected from loss to alternative uses, to support established settlements.

The Greater Cambridge Local Plan will be informed by a range of evidence on community facilities. The Infrastructure Delivery Plan will accompany the plan which will identify what facilities are needed, and how they will be funded. This will include provision for schools and health, and be prepared in consultation with service providers. Further details are provided in I/ID Infrastructure and Delivery in the Infrastructure theme. We will also be updating our evidence on specific issues related to community facilities, sport, and indoor facilities, and these will be available at the next stage of plan making.

What consultation have we done on this issue?

Some of the key feedback received during the First Conversation consultation included that the plan should require a range of facilities to be available. The timing was important, as people’s needs should be met when they move into new developments. We should also consider where they are placed, as they should be easily accessible by walking and cycling. A wide range of types of facilities were referenced, including community rooms, meeting places, communal workspaces, through to art galleries and venues. Sport facilities were also important, including swimming pools. The importance of these spaces for social interaction was important, highlighted by isolation impacts of COVID-19. In terms of their delivery, we should involve communities at the planning stages, and consider longer term issues of governance and maintenance.

What alternatives did we consider?

No policy, relying on national guidance – Not considered a reasonable alternative due to the need to respond to local issues and provide satisfactory provision to support development in a sustainable form

Supporting evidence studies and topic papers

  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Topic paper 4: Wellbeing and Social Inclusion

Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018 

  • Policy SC/3: Protection of Village Services and Facilities 

  • Policy SC/4: Meeting Community Needs 

  • Policy SC/5: Community Healthcare Provision 

  • Policy SC/6: Indoor Community Facilities 

  • Policy SC/7: Outdoor Play Space, Informal Open Space and New Developments 

  • Policy TI/9: Education Facilities 

Cambridge Local Plan 2018 

  • Policy 68: Open space and recreation provision through new development 

  • Policy 73: Community, sports and leisure facilities 

  • Policy 74: Education facilities 

  • Policy 75: Healthcare facilities 

Tell us what you think

Tell us what you think about this policy, by clicking on the comment point (purple speech bubble) to open the comment box and leave your feedback.