New benchmark guidelines for the design of spaces for outdoor sport and play have been published by Fields In Trust Cymru; 'Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play: Beyond the Six Acre Standard', was launched at Green Space Wales Symposium for practitioners on 25th January. The guidance is a crucial tool for local planning authorities, developers, planners, urban designers and landscape architects in the design of outdoor sport, play and informal open space. It is provided as free to use interactive PDF on the Fields in Trust website.
This guidance has been produced to reflect a new planning policy landscape. Changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (2012), the introduction of The Localism Act (2011) and the phased introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy all combine to change how local planning operates. Additionally the devolved administrations have each determined the detail and operation of their own primary planning legislation. To reflect these different systems and take account of specific legislation, such as the Well-being of Future generations Act, the Fields in Trust Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play has been reconfigured in a special edition for Wales, and available in a Welsh language version.
Lesley Griffiths AM Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs said: "It is vital we secure sufficient land for outdoor recreation, so I welcome this updated guidance on open space provision from Fields in Trust. The document is referenced as a useful tool by the Welsh Government's Technical Advice Note (TAN)16 Sport, Recreation and Open Space and is widely adopted by the Local Planning Authorities."
As part of its work, Fields in Trust has supported practitioners since the 1930s on open space provision and design originally identified as the "Six Acre Standard". This new guidance backed up by research retains the same headline rates of provision, but draws out new recommendations for accessibility, for flexible application of standards and the minimum dimensions of formal outdoor space. This revision of the guidelines introduces benchmarking for informal open space - places for recreation, not involving organised sport and play - and includes parks and gardens, and natural and semi-natural habitats. The guidance also no longer differentiates between urban and rural areas.
Changing planning arrangements and national sports governance across the UK require specific policy responses in versions for England, Scotland and Wales. Alongside the updated guidance for Wales - editions for England and Scotland are also available as online tools.
Writing in the foreword of the document Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson said: "To create an active nation one of the things that we need to do is make sure that appropriate outdoor recreational opportunities are available to everyone regardless of age or ability. We also have to recognise the role of play in developing physical literacy in young children. All important things for the future. Without access to grassroots facilities there are many who will lose the chance to identify and hone their skills."
Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths said: "Adopting this guidance will help planners and designers ensure that the provision of outdoor sport, play and informal open space is of sufficient size to enable effective public use, in an accessible location close to local communities. It is important that outdoor space has a design quality which will maintain its longevity and to encourage continued use."
Fields in Trust's projects and protection programmes operate across the UK and in Wales, Fields in Trust Cymru has also developed its own unique projects such as Owain Glyndwr Fields. It has supported the Welsh Government on the development of legislation and policy and, for the 2016 National Assembly for Wales elections, produced a playing fields manifesto.
For media enquiries, please contact Richard McKeever, Fields in Trust Communications Manager
t: 020 74272117
m: 07940 072832
Fields in Trust Cymru
Sport Wales National Centre
Cardiff, CF11 9SW
t: 02920 334935
NOTES TO EDITORS
Fields in Trust is a national charity that operates throughout the UK to safeguard recreational spaces and campaign for better statutory protection for all kinds of outdoor sites.
Founded in 1925 as the National Playing Fields Association by King George V, their mission is the same now and as it was then: to ensure that everyone – young or old, able-bodied or disabled and wherever they live – should have access to free, local outdoor space for sport, play and recreation. These spaces are vital to building happy and healthy communities and sadly continue to be threatened by all kinds of development.