PPS 8: Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation
The Role of Development Plans: Assessment of Open Space Provision
4.3 The assessment of provision will commence with a survey of existing open spaces, both public and private, identifying the different needs they serve. This survey will generally focus on open spaces within or adjoining urban areas, but may also include outdoor recreation facilities in the countryside.
4.4 Based on the survey information, the Department will then assess provision against the National Playing Fields Association (NPFA) recommended minimum standard of 2.4 hectares of ‘outdoor playing space’ per 1000 population (commonly referred to as the ‘6 acre standard’). This assessment will consider not just the absolute level of provision of ‘outdoor playing space’, but will also look at the distribution and accessibility of such facilities.
4.5 While it is recognised that provision of open space facilities can vary greatly from one area to another, the NPFA standard is intended to reflect a minimum level of provision of ‘outdoor playing space’ that the Department considers should be aspired to by district councils and exceeded wherever possible. Further information about the NPFA standard and the term ‘outdoor playing space’ is contained in Annex B.
4.6 Recognising that the NPFA standard is directed at ‘outdoor playing space’, the Department also considers it appropriate, as part of the assessment of open space, to take account of the provision and role of other forms of open space and the availability of indoor sports facilities. Again it is important not only to consider the absolute level of provision, but the distribution and accessibility of the spaces and facilities together with the amenity value, environmental assets and linkages they may provide.
4.7 The assessment of open space will be carried out for all large settlements and where appropriate assessments may also extend to include the entire plan area.