Policy INF3: New and Improved Facilities

Open22 Jan, 2024, 10:00am - 4 Mar, 2024, 11:59pm

Policy INF3:  New and Improved Facilities

Development proposals for new community facilities within settlements will be supported. As an exception, the provision of new community facilities will be supported outside of, but in close proximity to, settlements provided it can be shown that:

  1. There are no suitable sites available within the settlement which could be used.
  2. The proposal is well related to the nearest settlement, including with regard to issues such as scale, impact on landscape character and the historic environment;
  3. The proposal meets an identified local need; and
  4. The site is accessible via sustainable modes of transport.

Proposals for development provided as part of housing/mixed-use allocations within the Local Plan and also for other large-scale housing/mixed-use developments, will need to:

  1. Retain existing community facilities which are valued by the community and not result in an adverse impact to existing facilities in the local area;
  2. Provide new community facilities, in accordance with adopted council standards within the developable area of the site, where the needs of the new development cannot be met by existing provision;
  3. Ensure that new community facilities are delivered to prescribed timescales and in a manner which ensures they can be viably delivered and operated; and
  4. Ensure that new community facilities are informed by a thorough understanding of the community needs and that the premises provided will meet that need.

Where opportunities exist, the council will support the co-location of community facilities and services. Where this is proposed, it will be necessary to ensure that all of the services are able to fulfil their functions and operate effectively.

The extension, expansion and/or enhancement of existing facilities will be supported, provided the proposal is well related to the existing facility and the surrounding area in terms of design, scale and layout.

9.43 The provision of new community facilities is vital for addressing the impacts of new development and ensuring that residents can meet their needs and be part of vibrant and healthy communities, which is essential for fostering health and well-being.

Community facilities is a wide-ranging term, which encompasses an array of community, recreational, cultural and leisure uses, including:

  • Allotments
  • Cemeteries
  • Childcare facilities (including children’s nurseries)
  • Community buildings including community centres, village halls, church halls and any other community rooms/spaces in other buildings[1].
  • Cultural facilities including concert halls, theatres, libraries, museums, archive facilities, community arts centres, arts/craft centres and art in the public realm
  • Education facilities
  • Healthcare facilities (not including elderly persons accommodation)
  • Local shops
  • Places of worship
  • Post offices
  • Public houses
  • Sports and recreation facilities (including playing fields, sports and leisure centres, swimming pools, indoor sports halls and leisure centres, indoor bowls, gymnastics centres, indoor sports facilities, health and fitness facilities/gyms, ice rinks, artificial turf pitches (ATP), athletics tracks, tennis and netball courts, bowling greens, grass pitches, golf courses/driving ranges, multi-functional green spaces (MFGS), multi-use games areas (MUGAs), water-based facilities e.g. canoeing and other outdoor sports space
  • Youth facilities including formal and equipped play provision, and indoor and outdoor facilities for children and young people.
9.45 Wherever possible, new facilities should be provided in the most sustainable location which is achievable and should be accessible via a range of sustainable modes of transport/travel. Generally, this will mean providing new facilities within existing settlements. However, there may be instances where suitable sites within settlements are not available. In such instances it will be necessary to ensure that the site which is selected for the proposed development is as close to, and as well related as possible to, the settlement which it will primarily be serving. This is in order to ensure that the site can be accessed in as sustainable a manner as practicable, and in order to ensure that the proposal does not have a detrimental impact upon the character of the area. Consideration of this issue will need to be informed by the local context, for example in a rural area there will need to be a recognition of the transport options available when establishing what is a sustainable location.
9.46 The provision of new community facilities as part of new development (primarily housing allocations within the Local Plan, the Town Centre policy and any other large-scale development which may come forward on a windfall basis) is hugely significant for both new and existing communities. New community facilities must be provided as part of such developments in a manner which meets community needs and responds positively to facilities and services which are available in the area. Development proposal should demonstrate that they have thoroughly considered the needs of the new community and how those will be addressed via the new development. This process should be informed by proper consideration of, and consultation with, neighbouring communities and other facilities in the local area.
9.47 For larger developments in particular, new facilities will need to be provided, which accord with relevant council standards and guidance. New community buildings should be provided with space available for potential extension/expansion (without compromising the space available for outdoor uses), particularly if there are other potential development sites in the area which may come forward within area. It is likely that the most appropriate approach will be to consolidate community provision as much as possible to create a community hub and ensure that community integration can be achieved.
9.48 In some instances, it may be most appropriate for new development to look towards existing provision within the locality, particularly where this will help to make those facilities more viable and prevent unhelpful competition between facilities, while also ensuring community integration. Where new community facilities are provided, it may be necessary for the council to safeguard land to meet the additional need that is planned to arise.  
9.49 The consolidation of community uses within particular buildings will also be important for ensuring viability and maximising opportunities for social interaction. For example, it will generally be highly beneficial for community centres and childcare services to be integrated as this ensures that a suitable facility is available for the relevant services and will ensure regular use of the premises provided. Consideration should also be given to grouping community buildings with sports and recreation uses. The community buildings in question will need to be designed so that they can accommodate the different uses they will be supporting in a practical and effective manner. Community buildings should have easy access to outdoor space, and provide a segregated outdoor space when they include childcare facilities.
Implementation and Monitoring

The policy will be implemented by:

  • Development management and decisions on planning applications.
  • Neighbourhood Planning could also bring forward new local facilities and services for which there is an identified need and community support, this could be either via allocations in the neighbourhood plan and/or policies seeking to support the delivery of particular facilities.

The policy will be monitored by:

  • Recording and analysing planning applications for new community facilities and services.
  • Recording and analysing planning applications where the funding for improvements to existing community facilities and services are secured through s.106 agreements.



[1] BDBC Leisure and Recreation Needs Assessment Update 2022: Part 2 Community Buildings Report defines a community building as: a building that is open to the whole community, run for public benefit, is a focus for neighbourhood activity and involvement and hosts a range of locally based social, recreational, cultural and educational activities and volunteering opportunities.