Sport and Recreation Strategy Review: Park Feasibility Study

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Important Notice for Existing and Potential Clients:

As from 4th March 2013, Phil Lomax, Director and Principal Consultant of Green Dimensions is moving to take up a position as Principal Ecologist at Thomson Ecology.

 Colden Common Play Area
Fleming Park leisure Centre (Image courtesy of Eastleigh Borough Council)
Out for a cycle ride (Image courtesy of Eastleigh Borough Council)
Watermead Park Nature Reserve, Leicester,created from a former sand and gravel extraction site.
Enjoying a game of bowls
The Hub Sports Hall, Bishopstoke (Image courtesy of Eastleigh Borough Council)
Horse rider, Fletchers Water
Time for a picnic (Image courtesy of Eastleigh Borough Council)
Exciting adventure playground set in a woodland park.
Walking in the woods
Youngsters enjoying a raft race at the Lakeside Country Park, Eastleigh, created from former sand and gravel workings.
Case Studies

Recreation and Open Space Planning

Green Dimensionsundertakes a review of the Eastleigh Borough Council Sport and Recreation Strategy

Eastleigh Borough Council intends to replace its current Sport and Recreation Strategy for the Borough of Eastleigh 2002-2007. To inform this new strategy, the Council commissioned green dimensions to undertake the following background work:

  • To review progress on the 2002-2007 strategy and to highlight areas that had not been fully achieved;
  • To review the national policy context for the new strategy, including national Government strategy, policy and guidance, and that of other relevant bodies such as Sport England;
  • To review relevant regional and local planning strategy and policy such as the Draft South East Plan, Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) as well as the Eastleigh Borough Local Plan and the new Local Development Framework;
  • To review relevant internal Eastleigh Borough Council strategy and policy;
  • To review other local authority sport and recreation strategies;
  • To prepare a report summarising the findings of the above reviews and identify key objectives and targets for the new strategy.

The 88 page review revealed two distinct but interconnected national agendas; one for sport and one for physical activity. The rationale and impetus for each strand is likewise distinct, but overlapping. Both strands use the 2012 London Olympic Games as a focus and target for achieving a lasting legacy of improving and extending the sport and physical activity culture of the nation.

Achieving Government strategy and targets for sport and physical activity presents a number of significant challenges. For Eastleigh Borough Council and its partners, these include:

  • Encouraging and supporting an additional 4,631 adults (5% of the current population) to become more active by 2012 (at least 30 minutes moderate intensity activity on at least 3 occasions each week against a current rate of 23.4% achieving this activity level);
  • Providing for and supporting an ageing population, where 24% of people are projected to be over 65 years of age by 2026;
  • Likewise, the Government target of providing all 5 to 19 year olds with opportunities for 3 hours per week of high quality sporting activity, outside of normal school hours, will require that such provision is made for 22,582 children and young people over the next 8 years. This constitutes around 67,746 hours per week of high quality sport and recreation.
  • Furthermore, Sport England has set another challenging target of 33% of all 5 to 16 year olds to be in NGB accredited sports clubs by 2010. For Eastleigh, this target requires that around 5,900 children and young people are embedded in NGB accredited sports clubs. Again, the challenge will be to develop sufficient NGB accredited clubs with the capacity to take on this number of children and young people.

Two main activity streams are proposed as the principal routes through which to meet these and other challenges and to achieve the strategic aims. These are:

Text Box: Action Stream 1 – Promoting and supporting changes in attitudes and behaviours to sport and physical activity;    Action Stream 2 – Creating a more active environment.

As well as identifying the challenges, it also identifies some of the opportunities such as the use of anticipated future developer contributions of over £7 million to provide new sport and recreation facilities to meet an estimated growth in population of 9.52% up to 2026.

This will help  build on the current excellent range and quality of current facilities which puts Eastleigh Borough in the top 10 local authorities nationally for public satisfaction ratings for its sport and recreation facilities. Following investment of over £17 million , Eastleigh scored a satisfaction rating of 80.1% (based on the results of the national Sport England Active People 1 survey which interviewed 1000 people in the borough),and 26% of local people said that sport and recreation provision had improved in the 2006 Best Value performance review.

Folded Corner:   can review your strategy or policy documents and draft new strategy and policy based on analysis of key data and objectives. Contact us to discuss what we can do for you.


Green Dimensionsundertakes a feasibility study for a new Forest Park in Test Valley

This report was commissioned by Test Valley Borough Council with the purpose of assessing the feasibility of establishing a new Forest Park in the south of the borough. The Forest Park is proposed within the Council’s Core Strategy Development Plan Document (Pre –Submission Draft) October 2008, with the principal objective of mitigating recreational visitor pressures on the New Forest National Park, which may arise from the increase in the local population up to 2026 as a result of the proposed development of 8,910 new houses in the borough.

The New Forest contains habitats and species of European nature conservation significance and importance, which are protected by the designation under the EC Habitats Directive as a SAC (Special Area of Conservation), and under the EC Birds Directive as a SPA (Special Protection Area) and a Ramsar site under the international Ramsar Convention.

The Appropriate Assessment of the Draft South East Plan, as well as those for the TVBC Core Strategy, and that for the neighbouring Southampton City Council Core Strategy, have all identified the potential for residential development and population growth to lead to increased visitor pressures in the New Forest, which may have a significant effect on these designated areas.

To seek to mitigate these potential effects, the amended South East Plan, supported by a draft Green Infrastructure Strategy for South Hampshire and supported by Natural England, proposes the provision of alternative natural greenspace of sufficient scale and suitably located to absorb visitor pressures on the New Forest.

To this end, TVBC has identified almost 400ha of woodland and commercial forest in the south of the borough as a potential Forest Park. TVBC also views the Forest Park as an opportunity to increase the provision of greenspace and access to the countryside for the residents of southern Test Valley and neighbouring districts and thereby contribute towards wider Core Strategy objectives e.g. on health and sustainability.

This 100 page report sets out the findings of the feasibility study in relation to the brief from TVBC which required that the study should:

  • Advise on the justification for the Forest Park;
  • Consider its potential capacity ;
  • Advise on the accessibility of the area by motor vehicles and non-vehicular modes of transport;
  • Advise on the options for recreation opportunities and their merits;
  • Advise on the management issues of recreation in the area;
  • Advise on the potential delivery of the Forest Park;
  • Advise on the feasibility of the proposal.

The main approach taken in this study, was to analyse current patterns of visitors to National Parks in England and to the New Forest National Park in particular, and to identify the characteristics of the visitors and their activities, and to identify the particular attributes of these National Parks which were of value to visitors and attracted them to return time and again.

Having identified these key attributes, the proposed Forest Park site was evaluated against them, to assess to what extent it could potentially provide what visitors desired. It is believed this approach by identifying the critical success factors and evaluating the proposed site against them, gives a good indication as to the likely success of the proposed Forest Park in achieving its principal objective of providing a viable alternative to visiting the New Forest.

The main key attributes identified, are connected to the innate characteristics and qualities of the proposed site:

Key Attributes Necessary for the Forest Park:

  • Location and Accessibility – including the location of the proposed site in relation to the target catchment, and the ease of accessing the site by different modes of transport;
  • Size and Capacity – the proposed site needs to be sufficiently large and robust to accommodate the likely visitor numbers required to mitigate the effects of population growth from new residential development;
  • Ambience – this relates to the atmosphere, character and environmental attributes of the proposed site, and how they compare to the New Forest experience based on the characteristics most valued by visitors, including scenery, landscape and views, peace and quiet and wildlife diversity.

The evaluation found that the proposed Forest Park performs well against all these critical success factors.

Folded Corner:   can undertake feasibility studies for your proposal or project and devise plans to make it a reality. Contact us to discuss what we can do for you.

Fleming Park Leisure Centre floodlit ATP (Image courtesy of Eastleigh Borough Council)
Fleming Park Leisure Centre, Eastleigh (Image courtesy of Eastleigh Borough Council)
A family enjoying the countryside in the North Yorks Moors National Park
Lakeside, Eastleigh (Image courtesy of Eastleigh Borough Council)
Enjoying a game of bowls
Tennis courts, Fleming Park Leisure Centre (Image courtesy of Eastleigh Borough Council)
Horse rider, Fletchers Water
Hiltingbury, near Eastleigh (Image courtesy of Eastleigh Borough Council)
The Grand Union Canal, part of the award winning Leicester Riverside Park.
Out for a cycle ride
The celebrated Longstock Water Gardens in Hampshire, part of the large estate owned by the John Lewis Partnership.
Hurst Castle and the salt marsh
Web Site Development and Wildlife Photography by Andrew Walmsley
Copyright © 2008 Phil Lomax and Andrew Walmsley  All rights reserved
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