Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

11 Health and Well Being

11.1 Open space, outdoor playing space and sports, cultural and community facilities can make a major contribution to ensuring that villages and towns are places in which people will choose to live. They play a key role in enhancing the health and the sense of well-being of the local community.

11.2 A main role of the planning system in association with development is to ensure there are sufficient open space and outdoor play space, formal sports, cultural and community facilities and that they are in the right places. But there is also a need to ensure they are of quality (to meet local standards), attractive to users , meet expectations, and are well managed and maintained. By undertaking local assessments of need and audits of provision, compliant with the policy requirements of PPG17[1], it is intended that the following objectives are set for the District:

  • Networks of accessible, quality open spaces and sport and recreation facilities, in both urban and rural areas, which meet the needs of residents and visitors, are fit for purpose and are economically and environmentally sustainable
  • An appropriate balance between new provision and the enhancement of existing provision
  • Clarity and reasonable certainty for developers and land owners in relation to the requirements and expectations of local planning authorities in respect of open space and sport and recreation provision

11.3 The Sustainable Community Strategy has as one of its main goals the aspiration to:

"Develop a health-enhancing environment to offer support to enable all residents to choose a healthy lifestyle."

11.4 Priorities supporting this goal include ensuring the design of the built environment encourages physical activity and encouraging the development of on site facilities/opportunities for exercise/relaxation/play.

11.5 A definition of Open Space includes informal recreation open space, formal parks and gardens, country parks, natural open space, woodlands and allotments. Outdoor Playing Space is defined as pitches, equipped play areas and youth facilities. Greater access to open space, parks, allotments, playing fields and provision for children and young people is clearly beneficial to the health and well being of a local community. Networks of green spaces and corridors provide opportunities for recreation, walking and cycling.

11.6 In addition to the more obvious formal sports and cultural facilities, community halls also provide opportunities for social and recreation provision. Community halls are multipurpose buildings provided by the community for the community. They provide space and facilities for a range of local activities and increasingly for community services. Buildings falling under the banner of community halls include rural village halls, town halls, neighbourhood centres in urban areas, Women's Institutes, British Legion halls, memorial halls, and halls belonging to uniformed groups, churches and chapels.

11.7 There are over 100 community halls in South Somerset, run by voluntary management committees, hosting a range of groups and services. Halls are often the only focus for the local community; they can be the hub of social activity including volunteer groups and contribute significantly to the health, well-being and sustainability of the local community.

11.8 It is therefore important that community halls are maintained and enhanced and where new communities are being formed or expanded through new development, there is a requirement to ensure adequate provision of community hall space.

1. PPG17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation, 2002 and Companion Guide 2001, Assessing Needs and Opportunities [back]