Cheshire East Council is to seek residents’ views on new strategies to boost sport participation and facilities across the borough.
Cabinet today approved holding six weeks of public consultations on the Cheshire East indoor and built facility strategy (IFS) and playing pitch strategy (PPS).
These key documents will help ensure every local community has access to high-quality playing pitches and indoor sports facilities to meet current need and future expected growth in demand to 2030.
The strategies will be produced in accordance with national planning guidance and provide robust and objective justification for future playing pitch provision throughout Cheshire East, and be used, where appropriate in the determination of planning applications.
The documents take into account the expected 36,000 increase in the number of homes in Cheshire East by 2030, planned for in the council’s current draft Local Plan Strategy.
Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities and health, said: “These strategies allow us to properly plan for and invest in appropriate indoor and outdoor sporting facilities.
“Having up-to-date strategies also best ensures existing facilities receive appropriate protection and that appropriate provision is secured from developers towards new and improved facilities to address the impact of new development schemes.
“The council is a key provider of facilities, in particular playing pitches, and our continued commitment to improving leisure facilities is shown by the £350,000 of improvements to Sandbach Leisure Centre’s gym scheduled for this year and the planned £8.8m Peter Mason Leisure Centre refurbishment at Congleton. This follows, of course, the unveiling last year of the fantastic £15m Crewe Lifestyle Centre.
“Provision of excellent outdoor and indoor sports facilities and increasing physical exercise across our communities and is a key priority for this council. As is supporting our local teams and clubs to thrive and involve local residents of all ages.
“A great deal of effort has gone into the collection and analysis of evidence and a collaborative approach has been taken in developing these strategies.
“Sport England has provided invaluable support and guidance and the input of the respective sports’ national governing bodies, along with Everybody Sport and Recreation (Esar) and Cheshire East sports clubs and schools, has been both important and greatly appreciated. This engagement will continue in the implementation, monitoring and review of the strategies.
The indoor and built facility and playing pitch strategies support the council’s ambitions to ensure our local communities are ‘strong and supportive’ and that ‘people live well and for longer’ – where people have health lifestyles and access to good leisure and recreational facilities.
Following approval by cabinet today (April 11) the next stage is to publish the IFS and PPS strategies for six weeks of consultations, starting on April 18. Following consultation, the strategies may be amended, where necessary, to take into account the comments and representations received.
Any investment needed to deliver actions identified in the finalised strategy documents would be subject to project feasibility and business cases and capital budget availability.