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Chapter 8 Recreation & Leisure


8.1 Recreation and leisure activities have been gaining in popularity in recent years because of increased leisure time, higher disposable income and greater accessibility to facilities. This trend is expected to continue and should be met with an appropriate level of supply. The North East Derbyshire Local Plan has an important role to play in ensuring that there is sufficient recreation space to meet the District’s demand. This includes the provision, safeguarding and enhancement of formal sports facilities, children’s play space, large informal open spaces, leisure activities such as golf courses and equestrian facilities, and routes, trails and pathways that provide access to the countryside.

National Guidance

8.2 Planning Policy Guidance Note 17: Sport, Open Space and Recreation (July 2002) has a wider scope than its predecessor. The guidance has a determined approach and states it is essential that local authorities ensure that community needs for open space, playing fields and sport and recreation facilities are met. It states that open space standards are best set locally and should be included in development plans, national standards cannot cater for local circumstances. Local authorities are advised to maintain an adequate supply of open space and sports and recreation facilities, by ensuring that existing land and/or buildings are not built on unless they can be shown to be surplus to requirements. New facilities should have regard to sustainable development principles and take into account particular locational requirements in respect of specific types of facilities or areas.

Regional Spatial Strategy

8.3 The Regional Spatial Strategy for the East Midlands (RSS8) (March 2005) includes a policy on regional priorities for sports and recreation facilities.. The policy states local authorities should work with County based sport partnerships and Sport England to ensure there is adequate provision of sports and recreation facilities.

Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan (January 2001)

8.4 The adopted Joint Structure Plan contains several leisure polices. It states that provision should be made for leisure facilities that are capable of being served by a range of transport modes, located close to centres of population and accessible to all members of the population. The impact of new leisure and tourism related facilities must be acceptable in terms of their impact on other land uses, the local community and the volume of traffic generated would be in keeping with the capacity of the local network.

Sports Initiatives Operating within North East Derbyshire District

8.5 The former coalfield wards of North East Derbyshire have been designated as a Sports Action Zone (SAZ), an initiative that aims to use sport to combat social exclusion, promote community development and sustain cultural diversity, by increasing the level and quantity of sports facilities and encouraging participation in sport.

8.6 Sport England’s Facilities Planning Model assesses the relationship between the supply and demand for sports facilities in an area. The model was used to assess sports hall, artificial turf pitches and swimming pool provision in the District and found that there was an unmet demand for two artificial turf pitches, which has been resolved through the redevelopment of Tupton Hall Secondary School and Sharley Park Multi-Use Games Area.

8.7 Derbyshire Sport is a partnership that includes all the Local Authorities in Derbyshire, including this Council, with the aim to further the provision for, and participation in, sport and recreation in Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park. Derbyshire Sport aims to identify a minimum standard of recreation provision for Derbyshire to replace the National Playing Fields Associations ‘Six Acre’ Standard.

Open Space Standards

8.8 It is necessary to have a standard to determine the current level of open space and recreation provision in the District against that required. A widely acknowledged measure of open space provision for local community recreational use has been the National Playing Fields Association (NPFA) standard of six acres (2.4 hectares) per 1000 population. The figure comprises:

a) Children’s Use, 0.8 hectares (2 acres); which includes outdoor equipment playgrounds for children and casual or informal play space within housing areas; and

b) Sports Use, 1.6 hectares (4 acres); comprising pitches, bowling greens, tennis courts and other facilities such as athletic tracks, which are all available for public use.

8.9 These figures are recognised as a national standard and therefore do not necessarily reflect local need provision. Local circumstances such as demographic characteristics and levels of mobility can influence the amount of demand for open space. Based on work carried out by Derbyshire Sport (including playing pitch assessment and facilities strategy) the Council will prepare a local recreation standard, which will be available through the preparation of the Local Development Framework. In addition to this, the Council will prepare a Supplementary Planning Document to include more detailed information about the recreation standard and its implementation.

8.10 It is also important to make the best possible use of existing facilities. The District Council actively encourages and supports the dual use of school facilities as a means to provide additional recreational open space and redress distribution inadequacies.

R1 Outdoor Recreation Space Standards

The Council will seek to ensure that adequate provision is made for outdoor recreation space to serve the District’s population in accordance with the National Playing Fields Association Standard of 2.4 hectares (6 acres) per 1000 population, until a local standard is adopted.

Existing Recreation Facilities and Open Space

8.11 The protection of open space within the built up framework of the settlements is an important objective of the Local Plan, especially in Conservation Areas and adjacent to listed and historic buildings. If unchecked, the gradual loss of open space and recreation facilities could cumulatively lead to a change in the character of settlements as well as reducing recreational and amenity opportunities of the local population. The Local Plan will seek to guard against such loss throughout the whole District.

8.12 There are several different types of recreation facilities and open spaces that perform different roles. The main distinction can be made between formal and informal recreation. The Council will seek to protect all forms of recreation and open space from inappropriate development. All formal recreation sites, allotments and Urban Green Space (larger informal open areas that contribute to the form and character of the settlement) located within Settlement Development Limits and all formal recreation sites and allotments outside Settlement Development Limits have been identified on the Proposals Map.

Informal Recreation

8.13 Informal recreation and open space can perform a variety of functions which include, defining and separating urban areas; improving quality of life for communities; promoting health and wellbeing; providing habitats for flora and fauna; providing a community resource and promoting visual amenity. This category includes all types of general open space and includes incidental open spaces associated with housing estates, highway verges and small pockets of open space.

8.14 The Proposals Map does not identify all informal recreation sites within the District. However, such sites are included within the Council’s Recreation Survey and will be incorporated within the North East Derbyshire Recreation Standard. Therefore, the Council will seek to protect all forms of identified informal recreation provision from inappropriate development.

Formal Recreation

8.15 Formal recreation can provide people with opportunities to engage in active sports, often in a social setting. The category includes pitches, courts, greens, athletic tracks and training areas; indoor sports facilities such as leisure centres and swimming pools; school playing fields where they include facilities; equipped children’s play space and parks with formal recreation facilities. The full curtilage of these sites has been identified on the Proposals Map which includes areas of open space around the edges of pitches and children’s play space.

8.16 The main indoor facilities within the District are the sports centres at Clay Cross, Dronfield and Killamarsh, together with the swimming pool and gym at Eckington.

8.17 The purpose of this designation is to safeguard against the loss of existing recreational facilities located within Settlement Development Limits, especially if there is an identified under supply in the parish.

R2 Formal Recreation Facilities

Planning permission will not be granted for development that would result in the loss of formal recreation space, as identified on the Proposals Map, unless:

(a) an assessment has been undertaken that clearly shows the land or buildings to be surplus to requirements; or

(b) alternative provision is made that is at least as accessible to current and potential users and at least equivalent in terms of size, usefulness, attractiveness and quality. Such an alternative should be available prior to the loss of the existing facility; or

(c) the proposed development is ancillary to the recreational use of the site and does not adversely affect the quality of the sites in terms of its recreational use; or

(d) the proposed development is for an outdoor or indoor sports facility of sufficient benefit to outweigh the loss of a recreational facility; or

(e) the proposed development only affects land that is incapable of performing a recreational function.

Urban Green Space

8.18 Urban Green Spaces are larger informal open spaces that contribute to the form and character of the settlement often providing a pleasant setting or view. Urban Green Space can be divided into 5 sub categories: Parks and Commons, Green Routeways, Woodland, Churchyards and Cemeteries and Amenity Areas.

8.19 The purpose of this designation is to recognise and maintain the contribution these sites make to the character of the settlement and protect such open spaces from inappropriate development. Urban Green Spaces located within Settlement Development Limits have been identified on the Proposals Map. Countryside policies apply to larger informal open spaces located outside Settlement Development Limits.

R3 Urban Green Space

Planning permission will not be granted for development that would be detrimental to the openness, character and/or appearance of Urban Green Space as identified on the Proposals Map, and its ability to contribute to the character of the settlement.


8.20 Allotments, when in active use, form an important facility in the District and are essential to many that have little or no garden space relating to their homes. However, in some settlements the amount of allotment space has exceeded the demand of recent years. In such areas, it may be possible to combine the users of one or two underused sites, there by allowing for the development of redundant sites. However, it is important to retain a flexible supply of allotment space in order to accommodate fluctuating demand.

R4 Allotments

Planning permission will not be granted for proposals that would result in the loss of an allotment site as identified on the Proposals Map unless:

(a) it can be demonstrated that the site is no longer in active use and is unlikely to be required in the future; or

(b) if in active use, a suitable replacement site of at least equal value can be provided nearby, in a location that is accessible by the users of the allotments.

Providing and Improving Facilities through New Development

8.21 One of the main sources of new recreation space including equipped children’s play facilities, and the improvement of existing facilities is through the development of new housing estates.

8.22 Priority will be given to the provision of children’s play space to meet the needs arising from new residential development, since the District already has a shortage of existing facilities. However, this does vary across the Plan area.

8.23 Children’s play space should be provided in conjunction with new development for family housing. Any 2 or more bedroomed dwelling, unless specifically designed for elderly person including sheltered housing, is capable of being occupied by a family.

8.24 Based on the NPFA’s standard of 0.8 hectares per 1000 population for the provision of children’s play space, the Council will seek the on-site provision of 20 square metres of children’s play space per family dwelling. This will include the provision of equipment to suit the size and characteristics of the site, although the minimum size for a children’s play area will be 1000 square metres. For smaller developments of between 10 and 50 dwellings, or if the site is otherwise unable to accommodate the play space to the required standard within its boundary, the Council may seek provision of off site play space or a contribution to existing facilities in the vicinity of the site, based on the standard of 20 square metres per family dwelling.

8.25 Where the development of a site is split into phases or two developers are developing in adjacent locations, there is a requirement to combine play space into one central location. If adjacent development sites are individually for fewer than 50 family dwellings, but combined provide 50 dwellings or more, then the policy would prevail to require a play area to be provided jointly in a central location.

8.26 Larger and centralised children’s play areas, well placed in relation to the footpath network, are preferred. They allow a wider range of play activities while providing scope for more imaginative design and landscaping to minimise the impact on neighbouring properties. Play space needs to be safely accessible by being close to where children live and should not involve crossing a main road. The NPFA recommend that play areas should be located within 400m of the home, and the Council will seek to achieve this standard for on site provision. The equipment should be appropriately located and suitable landscaping used to reduce the impact on neighbouring properties. However, landscaping should not cause detriment to the safety and surveillance of the play area.

8.27 New facilities, typically children’s play areas are normally dedicated to the Council by means of a Section 106 Obligation. Consideration will be given to the use of planning conditions rather than a Section 106 Obligation where this is sufficient to guarantee proper provision.

R5 Providing for Children’s Play Space through New Development

As part of new housing developments of 10 or more family dwellings, or which are 0.3 hectares or greater in size, the Council will seek the provision of children’s play space facilities of 20 square metres per family dwelling. This provision should be made on site unless:

(a) the proposal is for fewer than 50 family dwellings and cannot achieve the minimum size of a play area of 1000 square metres: or

(b) the proposal cannot reasonably accommodate the facility within the site boundary.

In these cases the Council will seek a contribution to off site provision or enhancement of existing facilities and the following criteria must be met:

(c) the alternative site must be related in scale and kind to the proposed development; and

(d) a financial contribution and/or additional facilities/equipment of equal value to the provision of 20 square meters play space per family dwelling is made.

8.28 Provision of recreation facilities and open space through the use of planning conditions and Section 106 Obligations is not exclusive to residential development and could be used, where appropriate, in association with educational or employment proposals.

8.29 The most up to date North East Derbyshire Recreation Survey will be used to assess whether new or additional provision is needed if existing facilities will not be sufficient to serve new development.

New Recreation Facilities

8.30 The development of new facilities attracting a significant number of people should be accessible by a choice of transport modes and be accessible to all members of the community in order to promote social inclusion. Attention should be given to security and personal safety in order to maximise the use of facilities. The use of previously developed sites should be encouraged as a preference to the development of greenfield sites. Urban fringe areas provide a valuable resource for the provision of sport and recreation in situations where there is an absence of land in urban areas to meet provision. Where planning permission is granted for recreation development on such land, proposals should be accessible by walking, cycling and public transport as alternatives to car use. New recreational facilities should be attractive, accessible, well maintained and safe.

8.31 Proposals for new and replacement changing facilities and sports pavilions must be of a scale and design in keeping with the character of the area, and situated appropriately to ensure that they are not detrimental to residential and visual amenity.

R6 Proposals for New Outdoor Recreational Uses

Proposals for new outdoor recreational use will be permitted provided that the development, scale and siting of associated facilities are in keeping with the character of the area and are not visually or environmentally intrusive.

8.32 Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres (PPS6) (March 2005) applies a sequential approach to the location of town centre uses, which includes leisure uses. This states that all options in the town centre should be thoroughly assessed before less central sites are considered for development for town centre uses. Therefore, proposals for new indoor recreation facilities should be located within the Settlement Development Limits in order to ensure that they are accessible to a wide range of users and by a choice of transport modes. Sites on the edge of settlements, but outside the Settlement Development Limit, will be considered if they can be accessed by a choice of transport modes and there are no suitable sites available within the Settlement Development Limit. The District Council will support the extension and improvement of existing facilities at Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh.

R7 Proposals for New Indoor Recreation Facilities

When considering proposals for new indoor recreation facilities, sites on the edge of settlements and sites well related to the built framework will only be granted planning permission if no suitable site can be identified in the Settlement Development Limit and they are accessible by a choice of transport modes.

Specialist and Noise Generating Recreational Activities

8.33 A number of specialist activities including rifle shooting, clay pigeon shooting, motor bike riding, go-carting, model air craft flying and war games are increasing in popularity. These activities give a great deal of enjoyment to many people, and are often carefully controlled by Codes of Conduct issued by governing bodies.

8.34 Suitable sites for these activities can be found on degraded land, former mineral sites, adjacent to existing noise generators, such as a main road, or in locations screened by banks and trees.

8.35 In considering proposals for specialist activities there is a need to have regard to the impact of the activity on the site, adjacent land and nearby residents. Particular regard will be paid to any audible and visual disturbance, traffic generated and the impact on sites important for nature conservation. The visual impact of any buildings and structures on the immediate surroundings will also be taken into account.

8.36 Conditions may be imposed or a Planning Obligation sought to ensure that the specialist and noise generating activities can co-exist with sites which are important for historic and nature conservation interests. Where appropriate, land management agreements will be drawn up in consultation with the relevant governing body.

R8 Specialist and Noise Generating Recreational Activities

Proposals for specialist and noise generating sports will be permitted, provided that there will be no significant audible, visual or physical detriment to the existing landscape, sites of nature conservation or historic interest and the amenities of occupiers or users of adjoining land, through the operation of the activity or through the attraction of large numbers of people.

Equestrian Activities

8.37 In North East Derbyshire equestrian activities are popular, especially in the rural west of the District and parts of the northern area. Proposals for stables for both private and commercial use have become an increasingly common form of development, assisted by the fragmentation of former farm holdings. High standards of design, construction and maintenance of buildings and care of land are necessary to ensure that equestrian activities do not have an adverse effect on the countryside and that horses are well housed and cared for.

8.38 A distinction should be made between commercial, and private or personal equestrian development since they serve different demands and have different impacts upon their environment. For example, commercial stables are generally larger, attract significant traffic and can generate demand for a dwelling.

8.39 Commercial equestrian proposals should be located on existing farms or other rural building complexes to aid rural diversification. The creation of large building complexes in sensitive rural areas will be resisted. The impact of the traffic generated on the rural road network and the potential highway safety conflict between horse riders and other users of the road network will be taken into account when deciding planning applications. A turning area should be provided as part of any proposed equestrian development in order to ensure that vehicles can exit from the site safely in forward gear.

8.40 The cumulative impact of introducing an increasing number of built structures into the open countryside will be taken into account when considering proposals for new private and commercial equestrian development.

R9 Equestrian Development

New equestrian development will be permitted provided that:

(a) it does not, either in its own right or cumulatively, detract from the open character or amenity of the countryside, harm sites of nature conservation or historic value or affect the amenity of an adjoining residential area; and

(b) it is well located in relation to the local bridleway network and the adequacy of the nearby bridleway routes are taken into account.

In addition to the above, new commercial equestrian development will be required to satisfy the following criteria:

(c) it is closely related to an existing farm holding or group of buildings; and

(d) the access to the site, and the local road network is capable of serving the proposed development without detriment to highway safety or amenity to both vehicular and equestrian traffic.


8.41 Golf is a specialist recreational activity already well catered for in the District. However, demand for additional golf facilities continues. The reclamation and restoration of former colliery and opencast sites or other derelict and despoiled land have provided opportunities for golf course provision in the recent past.

8.42 The artificial appearance of certain golf course features such as bunkers and flat greens can be an inhibiting factor to full assimilation into the landscape. Careful landscaping of golf courses, especially the use of native species can be of particular benefit by assisting in the creation of wildlife habitats and making a positive improvement to the landscape. Golf courses often incorporate water features that can provide both valuable habitats and a valuable supply for irrigation; thereby reducing the impact of such development on water resources.

8.43 Golf courses often have a need for associated facilities such as club houses and parking. The re-use of existing rural buildings can greatly assist in the assimilation of the new use with the countryside. Within the Green Belt, proposals for new golf courses will not be permitted where they involve substantial new buildings in excess of basic operational requirements.

8.44 Golf driving ranges can often be more obtrusive in the landscape than golf courses. They have a more urban appearance with driving booths, high safety fencing and often floodlighting. They are not well suited to the open countryside and will normally be expected to be located in association with exiting settlements or as part of an existing golf course.

R10 Golf Courses and Driving Ranges

Proposals for new golf courses and driving ranges will be permitted provided that they:

(a) respect the natural topography, vegetation and landscape character of the locality;

(b) utilise where possible existing groups of buildings;

(c) respect the existing rights of way network and do not create any physical danger to pedestrians or neighbouring property; and

(d) do not cause unacceptable disturbance or loss of amenity through noise, traffic or external lighting to neighbouring residents and uses.

In addition to the above, golf driving ranges should be well related to the built framework of settlements with Settlement Development Limits or in association with an established golf course.

Access to the Countryside, Leisure Routes and Rights of Way

8.45 The Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000, gives people a right of access to walk over large areas of open countryside and common land. The District has an extensive network of statutory Rights of Way, including footpaths, bridleways and byways. They provide considerable opportunities for people to enjoy the countryside. Where they exist within settlements they can provide good links between areas of housing, places of employment, shops and community facilities. It is important to ensure that development does not have an adverse impact upon the integrity of these routes.

8.46 In the north of the District the main recreational routes are the Trans-Pennine trail and the Cuckoo Way, which is the restored towpath of the Chesterfield Canal. In the south of the District, the main recreational route is the Five Pits Trail which runs through the parishes of Grassmoor, North Wingfield, Holmewood and Pilsley.

8.47 It is important that maximum benefit is gained by these longer distance routes through their full integration with the comprehensive network of more local public footpaths, ensuring that they are accessible to all members of the community and link settlements to the countryside and existing facilities.

8.48 The Council will support the use and improvement of all public rights of way and encourage additional provision and links as opportunities arise and safeguard them against development likely to prejudice their integrity.

8.49 If an alternative route for a footpath is sought an application for a footpath diversion must be made. Approval of a planning application affecting the route of a footpath cannot be implemented without first obtaining and implementing a diversion order.

R11 Development Affecting Public Rights of Way

Trails and Long Distance Routes will be supported and their routes safeguarded from development likely to affect their integrity.

Planning permission will not be granted for development that would lead to the loss of or prejudice the use of a statutory right of way, unless an acceptable alternative route can be provided. The alternative should be no less convenient or attractive to its users and be provided prior to the closure of the existing right of way.

The Chesterfield Canal

8.50 The Chesterfield Canal is a route of ‘national strategic significance’ (IWAAC Review of Waterway Restoration and Development Priorities Report 2001) passing through Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. The regeneration of abandoned waterways is recognised as a means of delivering widespread benefits to local economies which include the re-use of previously developed land, the creation of wildlife habitats, the restoration of historic environments, the provision of tourist and leisure facilities and the creation of job and business opportunities.

8.51 The Chesterfield Canal Partnership, formed in 1995, is a working group whose membership includes British Waterways, The Canal Trust and the Local Authorities through which the canal passes. The Partnership ensures a co-ordinated approach to the restoration, protection and management of the canal route.

8.52 The restoration of the canal sections in Nottinghamshire and Rotherham are now largely complete. Over the Plan period the focus will be on the Derbyshire section of the Canal, which runs through the north eastern part of this District, past the western side of Renishaw and through Killamarsh. The Chesterfield Canal Partnership aims to restore to navigation the canal route between Mill Green, Staveley (in Chesterfield Borough) and Killamarsh which will link with the restored canal in Rotherham and Nottinghamshire. This is an ambitious undertaking because this section of the canal is mostly disused and derelict and parts of the original route through Killamarsh have been built on. In the past the Council has sought financial contributions from developments adjoining the canal to be used in the restoration work. This allows a development to be associated with the Chesterfield Canal restoration. Wherever appropriate, the Council will also seek financial contributions from future development.

8.53 The Chesterfield Canal Partnership is continuing to investigate the best option for taking the route through Killamarsh. The Killamarsh Route Sub-Group (a sub-group of the Chesterfield Canal Partnership) was established in April 2002 with the task of commissioning and overseeing a study to analyse the social, environmental and economic costs and benefits of five previously identified possible routes to Killamarsh, its residents, and the whole canal. During summer 2004, private consultants were appointed to undertake this study, and through this work they identified a sixth possible route. Extensive public consultation was undertaken and a preferred route was identified. More work needs to be done (including engineering studies) to determine the precise line of the alternative route. In order to protect this route from development that would prejudice its implementation, it is appropriate to identify the route on the Proposals Map.

8.54 The restoration of the canal should be taken into account when deciding planning applications that could affect both the preferred route through Killamarsh and the original line of the canal. The original route of the Chesterfield Canal through Killamarsh is important even if this part of the route is not made navigable as it provides a distinctive heritage, open space and leisure facility. For this reason, the original route apart from the section that has been lost to residential development, has been identified on the Proposals Map.

8.55 Proposals to restore the canal will be considered favourably provided that they are in accordance with the objectives of the Chesterfield Canal Partnership and protect or enhance the environmental and wildlife value of the canal and its setting. In particular, proposals to restore the canal in Killamarsh should be in accordance with the findings of the studies of alternative routes.

R12 The Chesterfield Canal

The original route of the Chesterfield Canal will be safeguarded from development likely to prejudice its future restoration and its existing function of providing a quality Urban Green Space and leisure route.

The preferred alternative route through Killamarsh (as identified on the Proposals Map) will be safeguarded from development that is likely to prejudice its implementation.

Proposals for development associated with the recreational, leisure, nature conservation and historical potential of the Chesterfield Canal will be permitted along its route.

Country Parks

8.56 Country Parks can contribute towards recreation and leisure provision for local communities and can contribute towards bio-diversity and nature conservation objectives.

8.57 Past colliery reclamation schemes at Williamthorpe and Grassmoor have created two Country Park facilities and there are proposals to create a third at Westthorpe. There are two further major recreation facilities in the form of reservoirs controlled by Severn Trent Water Limited at Ogston and Linacre. A wide range of formal and informal leisure activities can be carried out at these locations.

8.58 The Council will support the provision of further informal and formal recreation facilities including Country Parks, particularly where these arise from future reclamation schemes. Such facilities should be founded upon sound principles of countryside management and respect and complement the surrounding landscape.

R13 Country Parks

Planning permission will be granted for the change of use of land for Country Park proposals, provided that:

(a) appropriate landscaping measures preferably including native species are undertaken; and

(b) the local highway network can support the demands of the traffic generated as a result of the development.

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