Policy SC 1: Leisure and Recreation

In order to provide appropriate leisure and recreational facilities for the communities of Cheshire East, the council will:

  1. Seek to protect and enhance existing leisure and recreation facilities, unless a needs assessment has clearly proven them to be surplus to requirements to local community needs or unless alternative provision, of equivalent or better quality, is to be made.
  2. Support and promote the provision of better leisure, community and recreation facilities, where there is a need for such facilities, the proposed facilities are of a type and scale appropriate to the size of the settlement, are accessible and support the objectives of the Local Plan Strategy. The council will:
    1. Encourage facilities that serve the borough as a whole, and facilities that attract large numbers of people, to be located, where possible, within or adjoining Crewe or Macclesfield town centres;
    2. Require facilities serving Key Service Centres to be located in or adjacent to their town centre or highly accessible locations;
    3. Require facilities intended to serve the everyday needs of a community or neighbourhood to be in or adjacent to the centres of Local Service Centres or other settlements; and
    4. Encourage the development of shared service centres that combine public services, health and community functions in modern accessible buildings.
  3. Support proposals for facilities that would not be appropriate to be located in or adjacent to centres, provided they are highly accessible by a choice of transport, do not harm the character, amenity, or biodiversity value of the area, and satisfy the following criteria:
    1. The proposal is a facility that:
      1. supports a business use;
      2. is appropriate in an employment area; or
      3. supports an outdoor sports facility, education or related community / visitor facility; or
      4. supports the visitor economy and is based on local cultural or existing visitor attractions.
  4. Work with agencies, services and businesses responsible for providing facilities to make sure that the needs and demands of communities are met.
  5. Make sure that appropriate developments contribute, through land assembly and financial contributions, to new or improved facilities where development will increase demand and / or there is a recognised shortage of local leisure, community and recreation facilities. footnote 46


12.9 The National Planning Policy Framework states that Local Planning Authorities should 'allocate a range of suitable sites to meet the scale and type of . . . leisure . . . development needed in town centres. It is important that needs for . . . leisure . . . are met in full' and 'deliver sufficient community and cultural facilities and services to meet local needs'. The policy covers indoor leisure, community and recreation facilities. Community halls for example can be a focus for indoor recreation such as bowls and exercise classes. Policy SE 6 in the Sustainable Environment Chapter covers outdoor open space such as parks and allotments.

12.10 Major facilities that attract a large number of people should be sited in accessible locations, and the council will encourage such facilities to be located within or adjoining the two principal towns of Crewe and Macclesfield, where this is possible. If this is not possible, other accessible locations include town centres. Smaller facilities should be located close to existing centres where possible, or close to the communities they are serving. Where sites are not available in centres, other accessible locations will be acceptable subject to their impact on surrounding uses. Accessibility is a critical issue for community facilities as they are used by all groups, including those without access to a car and those with restricted mobility. Young people and elderly persons can be disadvantaged in terms of accessibility to community facilities and therefore accessibility by public transport and safe pedestrian routes are essential.

12.11 Focusing major facilities in town centres not only ensures good standards of accessibility but also helps to ensure vibrant and viable town centres. Major out-of-town centre leisure facilities are not encouraged, however, it is accepted that some facilities serve a very local need or will only be viable in locations outside centres. Consequently, the policy seeks to ensure that their impact is not harmful to the surrounding area.

12.12 The council will work with other agencies and the voluntary and private sectors, to secure more and better facilities through joint working. Shared centres where public health facilities, council offices, libraries, police and other services are in one building can be cost-effective and more convenient for the public and are, therefore, supported.

12.13 Although facilities may become surplus to requirements based on their current use, this may allow other leisure and recreation needs of local communities to be met through their re-use.

Key Evidence

  1. Cheshire Retail Study
  2. Open Spaces Assessment
  3. Green Space Strategy
  4. Playing Pitch Strategy
  5. Indoor Leisure Facilities Development Statement.

(Footnote 46) Further detail can be found in Policy SE 6.

Policy information


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