To reconsider a report of the Forward Planning Team Leader (deferred from the previous meeting) requesting Cabinet to consider the strategy for further public consultation.
The Cabinet had before it a *report of the Forward Planning Team Leader (deferred from the previous meeting) requesting Cabinet to consider the strategy for further public consultation.
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration outlined the contents of the report stating that a new Playing Pitch Strategy was needed for Mid Devon to meet the national planning policy framework requirement, where relevant planning policies should be based on robust and up to date assessments of the need for sport and recreation facilities.
This included quantitative or qualitative deficits or surpluses, and opportunities for new provision. Information gained from the assessments should be used to determine what sport and recreational provision was needed, which plans should then seek to accommodate.
The Playing Pitch Strategy would also need to be consistent with Sport England’s guidance (2013) for preparing playing pitch strategies. This guidance included 5 key stages for the preparation of a Playing Pitch Strategy and indicated that the work be taken forward by a project Steering Group. A project Steering Group had been set up to oversee the production of the Mid Devon Playing Pitch Strategy and for approval at the key stages. This had included an elected Member and relevant officers from the Council, Devon County Council, representatives in the South West from national-governing bodies for the main pitch sports, and Sport England. The Council had used an external consultant, Bennett Leisure and Planning to undertake the technical assessment.
The Mid Devon Playing Pitch Strategy had now been completed. Its findings had been informed through engagement with pitch sports clubs, sports National-Governing Bodies and providers of playing pitch facilities in Mid Devon. This had included contacting town and parish councils and had involved meetings with the main schools and community colleges at Tiverton, Cullompton and Crediton.
The Playing Pitch Strategy included a vision, 6 key objectives and a section for each main pitch sport. Its findings for the district were also split into sub-areas for Tiverton, Cullompton and Crediton, which included actions plans with options and recommendations.
The Playing Pitch Strategy included two appendices which set out recommendations for actions in relation to the masterplanning of strategic planned development at East Cullompton / Culm Garden Village, and at the Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension.
The Planning Policy Advisory Group had met on the 4th August 2021. The group noted the contents of the Playing Pitch Strategy and had expressed a wish that it be subject to public consultation before it was finalised and that this forms part of the recommendation to Cabinet. The Forward Planning Team Leader had subsequently received clarification from Sport England that a wider community consultation was needed on the Playing Pitch Strategy.
It was therefore recommended that in light of Sport England’s clarification the Playing Pitch Strategy be published on the Council’s website and a minimum 6 week period provided in which public comments could be made on its content. The Playing Pitch Strategy would be amended where necessary before a sign-off was sought from the project Steering Group. A subsequent report would then be brought to the Cabinet to endorse the Playing Pitch Strategy as a technical document.
The Planning Policy Advisory Group has also expressed a wish that a further study was undertaken of built sports facilities, which together with the Playing Pitch Strategy could be used to help inform the preparation of Sports Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and that this SPD would be subject to public consultation. Cabinet were advised that officers would need to investigate what technical study may be needed for built sports facilities and how this could be used to inform the preparation of a new Local Plan. Officers intended to review SPD needs in connection with the adopted Mid Devon Local Plan at a future meeting of the PPAG so that prioritisation, resources and timing may be considered.
One of the Playing Pitch Strategy’s recommendations was to establish a Playing Pitch Strategy Delivery Group with membership of the current Steering Group and other key stakeholders, including main Secondary Schools and Blundells School representatives. To meet on a six monthly basis and progress, monitor and review the Priority Projects and Actions Plans. Officers would investigate how this recommendation could be taken forward. This matter could then be considered at a future meeting of the Council’s Development Delivery Advisory Group.
He informed the meeting that officers had received a request from the consultant subsequent to the draft reports being published for this meeting that several amendments be made to the Playing Pitch Strategy before it was consulted on. This followed comments received from representatives for the national sports governing body for rugby:
The consultant has requested that Appendix 1 Mid Devon Playing Pitch Strategy Main Strategy Document September 2021 be amended as follows in relation to:
At paragraph 5.5 Cullompton Sub Area be amended - the third bullet in the table to read:
· The club has the freehold and therefore secured use of the stand and adult pitch on the current site but the other adult pitch and 5 junior pitches it uses are rented privately and may be subject to development proposals in the future. The club has been looking for an alternative site within the area with long term security and which can accommodate enough pitches and appropriate ancillary facilities to cater for growth for some time.
Amend paragraph 5.10 to read:
5.10 The current proposals for Pedlarspool are for four adult pitches plus a training area, with the club exploring the possibility of one of these pitches being 3G FTP. The club will retain the floodlit adult pitch at Creedy Bridge, making five adult pitches and a training area in total. Critically one of the new pitches would be floodlit, crucial to addressing the severe midweek overplay of the current supply.
Amend paragraph 5.11 to read:
5.11 The drainage and pitch maintenance for the proposed pitches at Pedlarspool should be carefully considered to ensure these pitches can accommodate expected growth in the numbers of teams over the life of the strategy.
The consultant had also requested that Appendix 1 Mid Devon Playing Pitch Strategy Site Action Plans September 2021 also be amended for consistency, as follows in relation to the provision of pitches for the Crediton Rugby Club:
Amend the Table D Draft Action Plans – Crediton Sub Area at site reference MDCR.91 by replacing the text in the sixth column, second and third bullets with same text for the amended paragraphs 5.10 and 5.11.
The Forward Planning Team Leader then provided responses to the questions raised in public question time:
· He and the consultant had met the Heads of 4 of the main schools in Mid Devon via video call in February/March of this year, several of those meetings had been with the heads of the PE departments. Those conversations had informed many of the findings in the strategy and those findings had also been considered by the Steering Group. The consultant had been very pleased with the cooperation of all the schools with regard to this work.
· With regard to the 3G football turf pitch provision – the Playing Pitch Strategy did include recommendations for provision in the three main towns and he confirmed that the 3G football turf pitches were needed and that the recommendations did highlight locations for these and that this would be picked up by the Delivery Group.
· With regard to funding for sports provision, the Council’s current Infrastructure Funding Statement identifies Tiverton High School as a priority in the list of infrastructure items needed. The Infrastructure Funding Statement was currently being reviewed and would be presented to the Cabinet later in the year.
Consideration was given to:
· The efforts being made by Tiverton High School, Devon County Council and the MP to progress the relocation of the High School
· Whether there was to be a strategy for swimming and internal sports facilities
· Whether Uffculme School had been consulted as part of the work undertaken
· The consultation process and how this would be advertised using various platforms and how the schools would be engaged
RESOLVED that the content and recommendations within the Mid Devon Playing Pitch Strategy be noted including the amendments at paragraphs 5.5, 5.10, 5.11 and MDCR.91 and that the document be approved for public consultation. Also that officers investigate the need for a built sport facilities study and the merits for a Sports Supplementary Planning Document.
(Proposed by Cllr R J Chesterton and seconded by Cllr C R Slade)
Reason for the decision – to allow for a further consultation process to take place.
Note: *Report previously circulated, copy attached to minutes.