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THEME 6 SPORTS, LEISURE AND COMMUNITY FACILITES 


Mini-Vision
4.7.1 Attleborough will offer the amount and quality of sporting, formal and informal recreation and open space facilities that are expected in a town of its size. An enhanced and connected linear park/green corridor with the Attleborough stream at its heart will provide a vibrant, functional, and ecologically diverse new open space.

Objective SLC 1
Coordinate provision of buildings, equipment, and space for sports and leisure, working in collaboration with sports clubs and schools.

4.7.2 Section 8 of the NPPF in paragraphs 73 and 74 - Promoting Healthy Communities - provides guidance on why open space matters. The NPPF para 73 states that planning policies should be based on robust and up-to-date assessments of the needs for open space, sports and recreation facilities and opportunities for new provision. Breckland Council has published the Breckland Indoor and Built Sports and Recreational Facilities Study (2017) and carried out an open space assessment of formal and green open spaces in 2015 to inform its emerging Local Plan. This Open Space Assessment 2015 makes clear that Attleborough is severely short of both formal and informal open spaces. Informal open space includes Parks and Gardens, amenity green space and natural and semi natural green spaces. Utilising the current guidelines 'Beyond the Six Acre Standard 2015' produced by The Fields In Trust (FIT), with a population of 10,482 at the 2011 census, Attleborough should have at least 33.28 hectares of informal open space, and as the population grows the deficit increases. BC’s Open Space Assessment 2015 reveals a shortfall of approximately 27 hectares. The ANP consultant’s report Options Appraisal for the Provision of Sport and Leisure Facilities February 2015 commissioned by Attleborough Town Council gives details for Attleborough’s current provision and options for the future. The Town Council receives many complaints regarding the conflict between dog walkers and outdoor sports participants. Attleborough based Health Walks (supported by Fit Together, Walking for Health, The Ramblers & Macmillan Cancer Support) who meet monthly, report that they regularly have to drive to more suitable venues due to the lack of both informal space and circular walks within Attleborough. Public footpaths are sporadic and not joined up.

4.7.3 ANP Polices SLC 3 & 5 seek to address both the existing shortfall and required facilities for the growth in population. As Thetford and Wymondham are also growing their facilities would also become more crowded, a factor that emerged clearly in the public consultations on the ANP. This deficit has consequences that are evident in a variety of other resources, as the work of the Sports. Leisure and Community Facilities Theme Group has found.

4.7.4 The ANP recognises that without careful planning, the SUE, located predominantly south of the existing railway line, could become a separate 'new urban extension' with no meaningful relationship to the existing town. Open spaces that include cycleways, footpaths and bridleways would allow interconnectivity, assist with social cohesion, reduce vehicular journeys and assist with health and behavioural issues. The new connected Linear Park with way-marked routes, set out in SLC.P5 and in policies in the Environment Theme 7, will both assist social cohesion for people and provide linkages and movement corridors for wildlife. 

Community Action: Indoor Sports Hub.
The town Council will actively seek a site for a new indoor sports hub within the vicinity of the Academy.

Policy SLC.P1
The development of an outdoor sports hub at Gaymer's field, shown on the plan below, to include an artificial games pitch, a pavilion, changing facilities, parking and ancillary social facilities, will be supported.

4.7.5 The ANP proposes that all Outdoor Sports Provision is based at Gaymer’s Field with a new Pavilion incorporating changing, storage, parking and social facilities to serve the growing population. Delivery would be dependent on the football club securing funds for new changing facilities. As the town grows and existing space is outgrown, the strategy suggested in the consultant’s report and endorsed by the Sports Theme Group is to move all formal sports pitches from the Recreation Ground on Station Road to Gaymer’s Field, together with an extension (see policy SLC.P2). This would then free up the Recreation Ground behind Station Road to become an informal recreation area, whilst still being able to host games. There is currently no artificial grass pitch provision although the training needs of the football club, together with the potential to move five a side football outside of the sports hall to free up time for other
indoor activities, indicate that a small AGP facility could currently be justified.

Policy SLC.P2
The provision of outdoor sports facilities will be supported at the land shown below and marked as "E" on the Policies Map.

figure 7

4.7.6 To help with delivering this policy, consultation confirmed an ‘in principle’ consent of Attleborough Land to incorporating these areas of land in the ANP in the expectation of including these sites in their planning application. The ANP Consultation Statement sets out the discussions with developers on the Linear Park. Using locally derived planning standards the future growth of sport in the town is likely to lead to a requirement for a further three to four adult size pitches or equivalent, together with the necessary ancillary accommodation (e.g. changing provision). With the expansion of the Gaymer’s Field an Artificial Games Pitch (AGP) could also be accommodated. Future provision would be included for a spectator stand and perimeters should the football club progress up the divisions and have more stringent league requirements. 


4.7.7 The cricket club based at Old Buckenham has no plans to relocate back to Attleborough : it provides the infrastructure for new participants and can develop further through outreach programmes. To facilitate this, and to cater for “social” sides during the summer, the proposed Outdoor Sports Hub for Attleborough would contain an artificial cricket wicket that can be used for activities and matches during the cricket season.

Objective SLC 2
To provide a Community Centre and Informal Leisure/Play Hub at the Recreation Ground off Station Road.

4.7.8 A new Play Hub could include a range of interactive Outdoor Play equipment for all ages and would be a central point of focus for Outdoor Play Provision for Attleborough and its surrounding communities, acting as a 'destination play area'. Although the creation of the Play Hub will not solve the local deficiencies it will contribute to the overall provision to meet the growing town’s needs and will assist with social cohesion between the existing town and the additional urban growth.

4.7.9 Once they move, the existing building used by the Football Club could be refurbished or redeveloped to provide an Indoor Play Centre. If this facility also includes a catering outlet/public toilet it would provide a much needed facility well located to assist with promoting social cohesion between the existing town and the SUE and other additional urban growth in Attleborough, where parents and children could interact throughout the year.

Community Action: Play Facilities.
The Town Council will seek to create and implement a Play Strategy and will seek to identify future facilities for the Recreation ground on Station Road.

4.7.10 To meet anticipated population growth to 2036 Attleborough should supply in the region of 2.3 hectares of Equipped designated play areas and 2.76 hectares of other outdoor provision (MUGA's, Skateparks etc). This is based on either Planning Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play in Beyond the Six Acre Standard 2015 Fields In Trust (FIT) or the local standards set by Breckland Council (whichever is greater). The ATC has appointed a Play Consultant to make recommendations on the Play Strategy for Attleborough and required facilities and recommendations will emerge in spring 2017. 


Objective SLC 3
The ANP aims to promote a new linear park route along the Attleborough stream south of the rail line as indicated very approximately as a linked series of green spaces on the ANP Policies Map 1. Its extent and delivery would be approved in the SUE masterplan and other developer permissions.

Policy SLC.P3
The provision of a linear park in the area broadly indicated on the policies map will be supported.

4.7.11 TheTown Council would like to see a linear park that is well connected be well connected north to Decoy Common and south to Hargham Woods and also from the SUE to the town centre, together with good connecting pedestrian and cycle links to the town and in particular providing routes over the rail lines. The Linear Park should also connect to Gaymer’s Field and its extension, and follow the route of the Attleborough Stream, providing sustainable water management as well as recreation and connecting
paths. The provision of a linear park/green corridor also offers opportunities for interesting and creative solutions for informal recreation and nature appreciation.

Policy SLC.P4
The development of land for allotments to meet local demand will be supported.

4.7.12 The Allotments Acts allow authorities to make provision for local demand, and to acquire land for providing allotments. ATC currently has a waiting list of 50 residents. During the last year there has been a turnover of approximately 8 allotments and in previous years this has been a lot lower. Therefore, it takes on average 6.25 years to be allocated an allotment. The ANP estimate is that to meet demand for the waiting list and 4,000 additional homes, an additional 1.25 ha is required. The ATC will work with the
developers to allocate suitable sites and use the standards in “Growing In The Community” (2nd Edition) 2006 guidelines produced by the Local Government Association to review management of allotments.

Policy SLC.P5
The development of a new cemetery site to meet the neighbourhood area's needs will be supported.

4.7.13 To enable the Town to secure future provision for the next 100 years an amount of 10 Hectares (25 acres) of suitable land is required. Potential site options are being followed up. 


Objective SLC 4
Work with the NCC to explore options to provide a new integrated emergency services facility.

4.7.14 Fire, Police and ambulance services could co locate, allowing for a reconsideration of their best location in operation and potentially freeing up surplus space in the town. The ATC will work with NCC on this proposal.

Objective SLC 5
Co-ordinate provision of faith/pastoral facilities to meet local needs as the town grows, preferably in multi-use venues.

4.7.15 The Lighthouse Charity carried out a survey on behalf of the ANP for future Faith/Pastoral Care requirements. It found that for the established faith groups, the existing provision was adequate to meet the needs of a population doubling in size. However, the Lighthouse Charity would itself require a hall and other facilities, which it would want to share with other groups, providing a high quality, multiuse building and community cafe. One of the projects they run is Ignite, a youth project on the streets in
Attleborough and surrounding villages. They are pursuing a possibility of placing a small temporary venue on the ground/grass area behind Connaught Hall. As of July 2015 Ignite has received funding to move this concept forward.

4.7.16 Ignite has also engaged in discussions with ‘hard to reach’ young people who suggest the following:

  • ‘Small’ improvements: better facilities at the Rec, (see policy SLC.P4)
  • A dedicated place for youth to go to (see policy SLC.P8)
  • ‘Big’ improvements: a big indoor leisure centre and sports facility, (See SCL.P1) and a shopping mall.

Source: Deborah Carter July 2016, reported on The Ignite Project website

Objective SLC 6
Use the ANP policies to secure contributions as the town develops.

Community Action: Developer Contributions.
The Town Council will seek to ensure that appropriate developer contributions provide for new community facilities, a play hub, a linear park, arts, outdoor sports facilities and other community benefits.