Following on from a public consultation last year, BCP Council has developed a Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS) for 2020-2033. This is the first combined PPS strategy for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole since the inception of BCP Council in April 2019 and feeds into the new Local Plan that is currently being developed for the BCP area.
Sport England requires local authorities to update their PPS every three years. Development of this strategy has been shaped and overseen by a steering group formed of officers from BCP Council, Active Dorset, National Governing Bodies for sports, and Sport England. In addition, consultation has been undertaken with clubs and providers / owners of pitches as part of the process.
The PPS, which is going to Cabinet in February, contributes to the council’s fulfilled lives strategy. This promotes happy, active and healthy lifestyles with both formal club-based sports as well as casual and informal sport, aimed at getting people more active and improving their wellbeing.
It provides an audit of the quality, quantity and accessibility of playing pitches; establishes current levels of demand (including whether pitches are being over or under used); and, using population forecasts, projects forward demand likely to arise by the end of the strategy period so that the appropriate level of pitch provision can be planned and developed for the future.
The PPS is one of the strategies that will inform the new BCP Local Plan – a framework of policies and site allocations to guide development over the next 15 years. It provides a solid evidence base to support development of local plan policies in respect of playing pitch provision, ensuring that the sustainable development of the area can be achieved in a way that maintains and improves the health and well-being of local people and provides planning officers with an assessment tool to help meet the needs of a growing population.
It also strives to achieve better awareness and understanding of wider user groups to ensure the facilities and local organisations are welcoming and accessible to all, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion or disability.
Cllr Mohan Iyengar, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Leisure and Culture commented:
“Physical activity is at the centre of good health and well-being. The strategy for playing pitches is an important marker for how we’ll use open spaces in the future. It lies within our broader commitment to protect the future of outdoor exercise – not just for organised sports but for a range of activities that allow our residents to get active and stay active in the ways they prefer”
If agreed at cabinet, the strategy will provide essential supporting evidence to our sporting community when they wish to access national grants and funds.
Read the Playing Pitch Strategy Action Plan here.
Read the additional information relating to the report, under Item 14 here.