Sports and Leisure Needs Analysis and Playing Pitch Strategy
The purpose of the submitted report was to provide an update on the current position with regard to the Leisure Needs Analysis (LNA) and an outline of the options regarding the outcome of a town-wide Playing Pitch Strategy which had been carried out by Strategic Leisure consultants. Members received a presentation providing further detail at the meeting.
Middlesbrough Council appointed Strategic Leisure and FMG Consulting to undertake a comprehensive Leisure Needs Analysis (LNA) earlier this year. The LNA would replace two existing strategies that required reviewing and updating which were: Active Middlesbrough 2008-2020: The Sport and Physical Activity Strategy for Middlesbrough, and Middlesbrough Playing Pitch Strategy 2009.
The Leisure Needs Assessment included a review of current provision and services, demographic analysis, identification of neighbouring provision, analysis of participation data and health profiles as well as options for the way forward. Consultation had taken place with stakeholders including local, regional and national groups, schools and youth clubs, members of the Council and other individuals. The key aims of the Assessment were to identify the level and nature of future sport and provision required, reduce the financial cost to the Council by 50% and increase participation in sport and physical activity in Middlesbrough. Middlesbrough Council currently provided a £3.4 million subsidy for sport and leisure.
Increased participation would improve health and the long term financial implications of health. In line with the Councils Strategic Plan the transformation programme would be driven by engaging and enabling people and promoting early intervention and enterprise.
The need for Local Authorities to take a strategic approach to the provision of sport facilities has become even more important in the current economic climate, given that significant austerity measures have been put in place for Local Authority spending. Non statutory services, such as sport and leisure, were under particular pressure. This had resulted in the Council reviewing many of its services to determine whether there were more cost effective methods of operating. In terms of leisure provision, options could include closure of some sites to improve the footfall in others, investment in new, purpose designed facilities which were more cost effective to operate than older buildings, and working in partnership with other providers in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
The study considered outdoor and indoor sport and active leisure provision plus casual physical activity. It covered not only Council-run existing provision, but the full range of provision and providers. The LNA covered existing swimming pools, sports halls, squash courts, tennis courts, leisure centres, ice rinks and climbing walls, as well as outdoor facilities for football, rugby, hockey, cricket and athletics.
A diagram outlining the future Vision for Sport, Leisure and Physical activity provision in Middlesbrough was shown on page 3 of the submitted report. Delivering this model of provision would require a major investment in high quality, centralised facilities, providing for both competitive sports and community provision at Prissick.
Facilities on this site would also offer specialist provision for example, indoor tennis, for some sports.
The main focus for participation in formal facilities, and organised sport/physical activity would be in sports centres, secondary school facilities (with a formal community use agreement), and on formally provided all-weather pitches (AGPs) and grass playing pitches.
The very local, or doorstep provision, which was crucial to developing and increasing participation, particularly amongst those who were currently inactive or did very little physical activity, would be focussed on the use of information places and spaces, in community settings, including primary schools, community centres, childrens centres, old peoples homes, parks and outdoor green spaces.
Middlesbrough College had recently built a very high quality playing surface for rugby and football that did not exist elsewhere in the town. Discussions were ongoing with the College as to the community use of this facility. The College was also promoting participation in water sports. Regular Park Runs in Albert and Stewart Parks were proving popular and gym membership had been increased by approximately 150 young people by targeting schools.
The Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS) was a strategic document to allow the Town to assess planning requirements and also set the Local Development Framework (LDF). In doing this the PPS outlined the current playing pitch provision against national governing bodies requirements for Middlesbrough. In February 2013 Strategic Leisure were appointed to carry out the PPS.
The general overview of the Towns PPS was very good but did highlight that two additional football pitches were needed to fill requirements. This was based on a town-wide provision of Council pitches but excluded schools. As such, once the pitches within school provision were included, the provision was well within the requirements of the sports governing bodies. However, the Council believed that the information provided by the Consultants in relation to the availability of football pitches was inaccurate and had asked for it to be qualified.
The final report was due to be issued by Strategic Leisure in August 2013 and would be presented to the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel at a future meeting.
Funding for a Sports Village at Prissick would be drawn from land sales and a Section 106 agreement and it was anticipated that partners such as Middlesbrough College and Teesside University would also invest money for certain facilities. An Iconic Bid for £2million had also been made to Sport England and financing was also being sought from various sports Governing Bodies.
A mix of facilities were being considered for Prissick including an eight lane event running track, shot putt and long jump facilities, a grandstand, football and cricket pitches, cycle facility, velodrome, skate park, provision for tennis, a 100 station gym, basketball and badminton courts, cafe and possibly a 50 metre swimming pool. Clairville Stadium was due to close in October 2014 and replacement facilities needed to be available at Prissick by then.
In response to a query as to whether other Council facilities would be under pressure, it was emphasised that the key remit was to encourage more people to use the facilities available.
The Council was considering options of how to maintain the current standard and offer delivery of services through partners, whilst reducing the current £3.4 million subsidy.
AGREED that the information provided be received and noted.