Sevenoaks District Draft Local Plan Consultation July 2018

Draft Local Plan July 2018

9 Leisure and Open Space


Improving opportunities to relax and have fun

The Local Plan aims to improve the quality of the District’s existing leisure facilities. It is important to protect open spaces that provide value to the local community. All new children’s play space should be of high quality and include attractive and engaging equipment.


Supporting Evidence

Open Space, Sport and Leisure Study which comprises of:

  • Initial Findings Document 2017
  • Sports Facility Strategy 2017
  • Playing Pitch Strategy
  • Open Space Study

Open Space, Sport and Leisure

An Open Space, Sport and Leisure Study has been undertaken to assess the level of open space, sport and leisure provision within the District. This includes a Playing Pitch Strategy endorsed by Sport England.

9.1 The study found that the District is generally well served by leisure provision with a good number of indoor sports facilities affording residents a range of potential activities such as badminton, swimming, bowls and fitness suites. Much of this provision is within local authority owned formal sports centres, informal village halls or within educational establishments.

9.2 Swanley Skate Park (2)The Playing Pitch Strategy sets out the quality and quantity of playing pitches across the District. It recommends all pitches should be retained, quality should be improved and provision for new facilities should be sought and supported.

9.3 There are also a number of non-pitch outdoor sports facilities available for residents to access including multi-use games areas (MUGAs) and outdoor gyms. The study found that these should be retained and opportunities for new provision should be sought and supported.

9.4 There is, however, an existing undersupply of fitness provision and children and young people's play areas across the District and a shortage of formal community use agreements for educational establishments. Fields in Trust have produced recommended standards for the type and amount of playspace that should be provided in new developments. We will be adopting these standards as a minimum.

9.5 The public rights of way (PROW) network is extensive acres the District and is well used. Projects to improve the network through management, maintenance, opportunities to make the network more disability friendly and providing better access to the network will be supported.  Proposals for new recreational cycling routes will also be supported.

9.6 Open spaces are spaces of value for sport, recreation and visual amenity. They include sports pitches, open areas within development, linear corridors and country parks and are not just restricted to publically accessible land. They can include areas of woodland and scrubland as well as formal parks and gardens. Open spaces are an important part of the landscape, local character and the setting of built development. They can provide health, well-being and social benefits acting as locations for community and social events. Open spaces can also provide the "green lungs" for settlements and can contribute to the reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide and improved air quality particularly in areas including trees, woodland and hedges. 


Policy 19 - Open Space, Sport and Leisure

Sport and Leisure

The existing sport and leisure provision within the District will be retained unless it can be re-provided taking account of local needs and improvement to quality. This includes:

  • All sports pitches identified in the Playing Pitch Strategy
  • Golf Courses
  • Multi-use games areas
  • Outdoor Gyms
  • School Playing Fields and sites on education establishments

We will support proposals to improve the quality of the District's existing leisure provision including playing pitches, indoor sports provision as well as informal sports areas to provide facilities and access for all. New playing pitches must be full size, be appropriately surfaced and capable of competition use unless not technically feasible.

Proposals to increase the quantity of pay and play provision and/or community access will be supported.

New educational establishments must include facilities for community use and be subject to formal community use agreements.

Proposals to increase the number of fitness stations, either indoor or outdoor, and new playing pitches will be supported subject to design and location in accordance with the Playing Pitch Strategy.

Development to support open space, sport or recreational facilities will be permitted where it is ancillary to the use of the site and is in accordance with other relevant Local Plan policies.

Open Space and Recreation

The District's open spaces shown in Appendix 8 will be retained for the current use and open space type unless it can be demonstrated that:

  • The open space is surplus to requirements in terms of quantity, contribution to local character and setting, and that there is no need for an appropriate alternative community, sports or recreational use; or
  • The loss of the current open space type is offset by the gain in a different type of open space currently deficient in that location; or
  • The proposal is a mixed use scheme with demonstrable open space, and healthy living benefits which mitigates the loss.

All other open spaces of value to the local community, either because of use or contribution to local character, will also be retained. Local Green Spaces as defined by the National Planning Policy Framework will be designated through Neighbourhood Plans.

Proposals to improve the quality of, and/or access, to the District's open spaces, the Public Right of Way Network (PROW) and cycling routes will be supported. Connections to the existing PROW network must be incorporated in all new developments along with other active travel opportunities.

Open Space should be incorporated into new development from the earliest design stage alongside onsite blue green infrastructure and biodiversity features. All new open space must include arrangements for long term maintenance and management.

Children and Young People Play Space

Proposals for new play areas will be supported subject to design and location.

Housing developments must apply, as a minimum, the following Fields in Trust requirements for the inclusion of equipped play space unless it has been clearly demonstrated that it is not feasible or viable in which case a lower level of provision must be provided as agreed by the Council:

Size of development

Local Area for Play (LAP)

Locally Equipped Area for Play (LEAP)

Neighbourhood Equipped Area for Play (NEAP)

5 - 10 dwellings




10-200 dwellings




201-500 dwellings




500+ dwellings




All new children's and young people play space must be high quality, include multiple pieces of attractive and engaging equipment, suitable to the location and serve the local community.

Improvement and expansion of existing facilities directly adjacent or very close to a development site may be considered on a case by case basis for smaller developments at the Council's discretion.