Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

Sports Zone

11.29 The Regional Cultural Infrastructure Strategy recommends that Local Authorities work together with other cultural agencies to ensure high quality cultural facilities are accessible and available to all.

11.30 The District Council’s publication “the NEXT LEVEL Strategy for Sport and Active Leisure in South Somerset 2006 – 2012” sets out the vision for the provision of sport and leisure throughout the District. This document focuses on 4 key strategic areas developed from the National Framework for Sport, the South West Plan for Sport and the key drivers emerging from detailed surveys and consultation carried out within South Somerset:

  • Supporting community sport
  • Developing active communities
  • Enhancing facility provision
  • Raising the profile of Sport and Active Leisure

11.31 The Yeovil Sports Zone is the working title for the South Somerset District Council project aiming to provide residents with first class sport and recreation facilities, which will meet both present and projected future needs as the population grows. It will widen the range of opportunities for people of all ages to participate in leisure, stimulate healthy lifestyles, increase participation in active sport, enable more young people to achieve their potential in sport and create a sub-regional sports venue within the District and thus will meet the above 4 objectives.

11.32 The project fits within the local and regional strategic context and will play a major role in addressing key policies and aspirations through provision of increased opportunities for improving health of residents and educational programmes for health promotion, active participation in sport and recreation for all ages from disadvantaged groups to high performance athletes. By raising the profile of sports provision within the District, the facility will enable local, county and sub-regional level competitions to be staged in the town, increasing the profile of Yeovil as a sporting destination as desired by the business community leaders behind the Yeovil Vision.

11.33 The intention is to seek an appropriate location within or adjoining Yeovil to provide specialist strategic facilities that will meet the needs of those living in the area of Yeovil and throughout the District. It will take sports and leisure facilities in South Somerset to the next level and help Yeovil to become a destination of choice for leisure, shopping and entertainment, supporting the Council’s economic regeneration agenda. In addition, provision of this facility will be in conformity with Yeovil’s perceived role and function within the regional context. The site will need to be accessible from all modes of transport from both within Yeovil itself and from other destinations within the District and sub-region, which will then enable this to be used as a venue for hosting local and sub-regional events. Reference to its location within or adjoining Yeovil is set out in the Proposal Map.

11.34 In order to fund this provision it will be necessary and appropriate to seek contributions from developers through the planning system relative to the sport and active leisure impacts emerging from new developments. This will be achieved through establishing clear guidance on the level of obligation to be sought from new development within South Somerset. This may be within a CIL Statement or tariff structure to be established once clarity is provided on the Government's way forward for obligations.

11.35 In 2006 Knight Kavanagh and Page carried out consultation work on behalf of the Council to ascertain the public aspirations for sports provision within the District. This study, called the South Somerset Sport and Recreation Built Facilities Assessment Report (Draft) (June 2006) did not quantify the levels of provision to see if there was over or undersupply of the sports provision or address projected growth in the area so in 2007 PMP Genesis were appointed to consider the possibility of providing a dedicated sports “zone” within Yeovil to serve the Yeovil catchment, which includes part of North Dorset, and the wider sub-region.

11.36 This work, carried out initially in March 2007, looked specifically at the demand and supply for each major sports facility and demonstrated that there was a clear need for additional facility provision and for the Council to put plans in place for delivering the required sports infrastructure. Following the increase in projected housing growth for Yeovil as a result of the changes made following the Regional Spatial Strategy Examination in Public Report the PMP work was updated in February 2008. The document, titled Yeovil Sports Zone Supply and Demand Modelling sets out the levels of projected unmet demand, which would be as set out below in the period to 2026.

  • A shortfall of 765 m2 of swimming pool provision in 2026
  • A shortfall of 12 badminton courts in 2026
  • A shortfall of 93 fitness stations in 2026
  • A shortfall of 4 indoor tennis courts in 2026

11.37 These figures relate to the higher growth option of 19,700 dwellings for the Core Strategy period to 2026 and will be smaller in relation to a provision of 16,600 as now proposed.  Revised figures are in process of preparation and will be available to inform the Consultation process and the Publication Plan for submission to the Core Strategy Examination.

11.38 Consideration of the different strategic options to deliver the new provision in Yeovil has identified that the lowest capital cost, most affordable, most sustainable, and appropriate solution to meet these deficiencies would be through the adoption of a single site approach, being £1m per year cheaper to operate than through the adoption of a multi-site dispersed approach.

11.39 As a consequence of the work undertaken through Leisure Services, a revised development footprint of approximately 1.5 hectares is now proposed within which it would be the intention to accommodate:

  • 4 court indoor tennis hall
  • 8 court multi purpose sports hall
  • Full sized synthetic turf pitch
  • Climbing wall
  • Pool hall, 8 lane, 50m length
  • Leisure water/learner pool
  • Fitness suite with 125 stations
  • Aerobics/Dance studio
  • Health consultation rooms
  • Pool and dry changing facilities
  • Spectator galleries for pool and sports halls
  • Plant and associated staff, and administrative areas and reception.
  • Crèche
  • Parking and servicing provision.

11.40 This level of provision would allow for “future-proofing” of development beyond 2026 and takes account of both the projected growth of Yeovil and within the catchment and also for the anticipated increase in levels of sports participation over the next 40 or so years.

11.41 Although various locations have previously been appraised as potential sites to accommodate the Sports Zone, no decision on location has been taken by the Council. At this stage sites are being considered both for the indoor provision alone and at larger sites, which could accommodate additional outdoor facilities in close proximity to the indoor provision as well. Various factors will inevitably affect the suitability of sites for both indoor and outdoor provision with topography, and the need for flat land, a key consideration and the chosen site also needs to be accessible to residents in Yeovil by walking, cycling and public transport as well as accessible to residents within the whole District and sub-region.

11.42 For the built facilities, a sequential approach to the location of development is required, starting with the re-use of previously developed (brownfield) land within the urban area, then on the edge of the urban area and finally outside the urban area. There is a presumption in favour of the redevelopment of previously developed land and greenfield land should only be considered for development where there are no previously developed sites available for development of the required size in a suitable location. Any planning application made for the Sports Zone would need to be accompanied by the necessary impact test under PPS4.

Policy HW3 Sports Zone

In order to increase the range of opportunities for people of all ages to participate in indoor leisure, promote healthier lifestyles, allow for improved potential in sport and create a sub regional sports venue, the Council and its partners will seek a suitable location for the provision of a Sports Zone of at least 1.5ha. In identifying a suitable location the following locational factors will be taken into consideration;-

  • Preference will be given to a site within the existing town of Yeovil.
  • If there is no suitable, available and viable site available within the town which can accommodate the development, the site selection should follow a sequential approach with preference given to the location of the Sports Zone on the edge of Yeovil close to public transport links.