Chiltern’s new Lifestyle Centre gets the go ahead


Following three years of intense research, planning and consultation, final plans for the new Chiltern Lifestyle Centre have been approved.

KKP is proud to have been part of the project team assisting Chiltern District Council in develop its strategy and assessing the feasibility to develop this flagship facility. We worked closely with colleagues at Space & Place Architects in the development of the concept and design of the state-of-the-art community lifestyle hub, which brings together a range of leisure activities and complementary services under the one roof

KKP prepared the full business case for the new facility and managed the community consultation and research for the development. Over 2,500 residents took part in the community survey which gave the Council the mandate for the investment, with many more supporting consultation events throughout the development of the project.

The Chiltern Lifestyle Centre will provide a wide range of sport, leisure and community activities and facilities including two swimming pools; fitness suite; studios; a sports hall; squash courts; climbing and bouldering; soft play and kids climbing; health spa; library; community centre and pre-school nursery.

David McHendry, Managing Director at KKP, said: “We’re proud to have supported the Chiltern Lifestyle Centre from its inception to full approval. We’d like to congratulate Chiltern District Council for having the vision for such an extensive, but much-needed, new local facility and we’d like to thank to all the clubs, key stakeholders and individuals who contributed to the development of the project.

“The blueprint for the Chiltern Lifestyle Centre incorporates the key benefits of co-location and demonstrates the synergy achieved by a complementary range of community services located under one roof. The operational challenge is to ensure that all the key user groups benefit from a centralised catering offer and extensive ancillary facilities without losing their identity.”

There will multi-functional use of the different spaces which will be able to cater for activities and agencies ranging from youth groups, University of the 3rd Age (U3A) to diving and swimming competitions.

The existing buildings on the King George V site will be demolished – apart from the historic barns – and will be replaced by the lifestyle centre. There will also be external sports equipment, a multi-use games area, play areas and associated parking and landscaping.

The old Chiltern Pools centre is no longer fit for purpose; having been built in 1965 it is not only aesthetically showing its age, but also requires urgent repair or replacement in some key areas of the facility, making it uneconomical to run long-term. The new centre has been designed to high quality standards which will reduce the ongoing management costs that arise from operating older centres.

The Lifestyle Centre, along with the improvements to the centres at Chesham and Chalfont will significantly reduce the Council’s Co2 emissions and will be one of only two A-rated buildings of this kind in the country.


23 August 2019

Golf equality…maybe not quite yet!

By KKP’s Director and Principal consultant (and keen golfer), Clare MacLeod.


It is to be hoped that the increased publicity surrounding this year’s Open Golf Championship leads to increased participation among both men and women on all courses.

We are continually told that golf is in terminal decline, that clubs need to get their act together and that shorter and more fun versions of the sport are needed.

Having been involved in the review of a substantial number of courses and facilities, my perception is that golf clubs are fighting back. Many have, at the very least, ‘bottomed out’ and are starting to show increased membership numbers (underpinning improved finances) despite not necessarily having opted to offer different versions of the sport (not that I am against this).

The number of women who play golf remains stubbornly low (only 15% of golf club membership – a figure lower than many other European countries). There is, arguably, a number of reasons for this and it is also true to say that we women golfers do not necessarily help the cause.

Take the term ‘working women’.  How often have you heard the phrase “we must help working women to play golf?” It is common parlance in many clubs and more importantly some actually mean it! I have real concerns about the use of this term as it implies that it is not common for women to work. In case you hadn’t spotted it, this is the 21st Century, women (alongside men) are educated to within an inch of their life, have career choices and the UK (in general) has really high employment rates. I don’t recall the term ‘working men’ being bandied about in the same vein.

Whilst certainly not the only factor, perhaps one step in the right direction is to look at competition opportunity and the doggedly stubborn view that ‘ladies’ should have competition days in midweek and if lucky an alternative day at a weekend (as long as it does not interfere with men’s competition). Are we not all golfers (who just happen to play off different tees…for that matter, why do we play off different tees)?

For the key Board competitions  (and following an 8-hour day at work for approximately eight weeks of the year) I can rush out of work, hope there is no traffic en route, get to the club, pull all my gear out of the car (hoping that I have remembered everything) run into the changing rooms to put on my shoes (can’t be seen putting them on in the car park as it is bad form), sign in (well I would do but the pro has left for the day) put my money in the box, meet my partner (who has deigned to play late) and stride of onto the first tee feeling as refreshed and ready as Rory McIlroy was on the first hole of Royal Portrush.

During August, we have to hope that there are no other players on the course as we do not wish to be delayed by slow play as the light is starting to fade (and particularly as I live in the North West, this is mixed with cloud and drizzle). Stories persist that rounds of golf have been known to finish illuminated by car headlights! Great for storytelling but not good if you are someone who wants to play her best, whatever your handicap!

Do I play my best golf…no, do I feel part of an inclusive club,…no, is there any solution… yes, of course there is.

A local golf club recently celebrated the fact that it allowed women to play in the men’s weekend competition in order to get their cards marked – a change championed by one particular member. It, however, begs the question in respect of whether we should be calling it a men’s competition or just ‘the competition day’.  Should we really be celebrating (rather than simply saying ‘about time’) what is an essentially minor and long overdue change…apparently yes.

Over two years ago, the club at which I play offered to do the same – it was the ladies who declined. Consequently, in a few weeks when we go to alternative day playing (we are fortunate in that I have found another female worker who can play at a weekend) I can play in the comp whilst all my mates play recreationally.

Are we really going to offend men’s sensibilities if we play alongside them and even let them mark our card? This does not yet necessarily mean joint competitions (that may be a step too far for even the egalitarian liberal men who play the game). Perhaps this is best tagged as a ‘distant dream’ for most of us.

We are all aware that events such as the Women’s Football World Cup and the Netball World Cup raise the profile of women’s sport and have a real impact on both men and women. As I travel up and down the country going about my business, I see women playing netball and football as part and parcel of everyday life. By consigning women to playing golf competitions midweek, we effectively hide the sport away from the general public, allowing some men to perpetuate the unequal status quo.

It is a right as a golfer to be able to play golf in competitions at a weekend regardless of gender. This one small step could have enormous repercussions across the sector…other ideas to follow.

Next week – membership fees!


6 August 2019

Copeland appoints assessor for open spaces

Copeland appoints assessor for open spaces


We have been appointed to carry out an open space and protected green space assessment for Copeland Borough Council, which will inform the borough’s Local Plan.

We triumphed over four competitors for the appointment, which will see the open and green spaces team contribute to Copeland’s evidence base for the new Local Plan.

Following the appointment, we will produce an updated open space assessment and review and recommend protected green spaces for the local plan.

We are asking residents, businesses and interested parties for their opinions on public open space in the borough including local parks and gardens, country parks; play areas for younger children; open spaces for older children and teenagers; general green space; allotments and churchyards.

Public open space provides opportunities for sport and recreation, socialising, tourism and wildlife, making an important contribution to the health and well-being of communities, ecosystems and economies. Copeland has a variety of public open spaces from allotments, to small local play areas and the larger parks.

However, up-to-date information is needed in order to ensure that there is adequate provision of accessible, high quality open spaces that meet the needs and aspirations of local communities, local people and people who work in or visit the borough.

Did you know, the borough is home to England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, and the deepest lake, Wastwater? Both are located in the magical Wasdale Valley in the heart of Copeland.

To speak to the team about any open or green space contracts, please call 0161 764 7040 or email christopher.macfarlane@kkp.co.uk


12 July 2020

University of Warwick Sports Hub is now open – KKP delivered the feasibility study

A new world-class £36m Sports Hub at the University of Warwick is now open creating one of the best sports facilities at a UK university – including the UK’s largest gym facility in the HE sector. To reinforce the University of Warwick’s ambition to be the “most physically active campus community in the UK by 2020”, the Sports Hub is open to all students, staff and the general public.

The new sports centre replaces the old sports centre on the campus and features a sports hall, a 12-lane swimming pool, fitness suites, climbing and bouldering walls and flexible studio spaces, as well as squash courts, outdoor 3G sports pitches and netball courts.

It will also be the official training ground of Coventry’s Wasps Netball super-league team.

For the University of Warwick’s feasibility study, we delivered concept development, master planning, capital cost analysis and revenue business planning, as well as leading on the consultation with senior staff members at the institution.

KKP is one of the UKs leading sports and leisure consultancies. We deliver feasibility studies for facilities of all scales, types and combinations; encompassing sporting, cultural and community provision including co-location, complex multi-agency, indoor, outdoor, adventure and water-sports projects developed under the auspices of a range of funding routes and partners. Clients include governments, local authorities, universities and colleges, commercial developers, schools voluntary and professional clubs.

During the last 2-3 years we have undertaken a range of projects at universities as diverse as Leeds, Royal Holloway, Aston, Glasgow Caledonian, Aberystwyth, Manchester, Salford and University College Cork as well a review of the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS).  These all build upon other work undertaken across the sector over the last 16 years

For more information or to speak to a team member, please call 0161 764 7040 or email DM@kkp.co.uk


24 May 2020

Sport and physical activity provision at universities – desirable or essential?

KKP’s work across the University Sector stems back to the strategy for sport it delivered at the point when UMIST and the University of Manchester came together in 2003. In terms of the range of projects and HEIs with which we have worked, it is second to none.

We were involved in the initial and detailed feasibility stages on two of the most recent high-profile investments in major sports facilities at the universities of Birmingham and Warwick. For these we delivered concept development, master planning, capital cost analysis and revenue business planning, as well as leading on consultation with senior staff across both institutions.

During the last 2-3 years we have undertaken a range of projects at universities as diverse as Leeds, Royal Holloway, Aston, Glasgow Caledonian, Aberystwyth, Manchester, Salford and University College Cork as well a review of the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS).  These all build upon other work undertaken across the sector over the last 16 years.

Not all of these focus solely on investment in new sports facilities. They cover a wider range of issues currently affecting the sector such as:

  • The role of sport in the wider student experience.
  • The role of sport reducing student attrition.
  • Outsourcing the management of sports facilities.
  • Impact-led sports directorate programmes.
  • Optimum approaches to engaging the whole student base in physical activity.
  • External funding opportunity.
  • Developing different business models for service delivery.
  • Reflecting UK policy, using sport to engage the wider local community.

The Government is currently reviewing how Higher Education is funded and is considering a reduction in the annual tuition fee to students, which currently stands at £9,250.

However, it is unlikely to make up the shortfall via any change to the funding regime. On this basis, for every £1,000 reduction in student fees, the Government calculates that the sector will lose £1 billion; reducing fees to £6,500 could, thus, mean a loss of nearly £3 billion.

But what might this mean for student sport? Unless a university is already planning to invest in its sports facilities, it may be less easy to include this in its longer-term financial planning. Universities will undoubtedly need to refocus their priorities, reduce staffing and become more streamlined. If parallels with local government occur, we could see moves to take out director of sport roles and subsume sport and physical activity within directorates which manage a wider portfolio of services. It might also lead to more outsourcing of sports facilities management, accompanied by a requirement to generate increased income from the community, students and staff.

Although sport and physical activity is not the primary factor when students are deciding which university to attend, it is an important (arguably vital) contributor to the overall student experience. Not just for those who represent their university in competitive teams but also for those who wish to keep fit, try new sports/activities, meet like-minded people and join new friendship groups. Given the wider pressures on students, being physically active is increasingly recognised as a positive contributor to mental wellbeing and the contribution it makes should not be allowed to be underestimated.

Although universities face major funding challenges, there is an increasing need to understand and do more to deliver on the wider role of sport and physical activity in relation to student experience rather than reacting by cutting or limiting services. Student sport does not need to be a drain on a university’s resources. It can be financially sustainable if facilities are of the right quality, services are geared to meeting the physical activity needs of the whole student body and the delivery mechanisms put into place are the right ones.

For more information or to speak to a team member, please call 0161 764 7040 or email DM@kkp.co.uk


14 May 2020

A KKP team member celebrates 10 years with the company this April

 On April 27th, our open spaces principal consultant, Christopher MacFarlane will have been with us for ten years. Here’s more about Christopher. 

To speak with Christopher about KKP’s open spaces services, please email Christopher.MacFarlane@kkp.co.uk or call 0161 764 7040

Name: Christopher MacFarlane

Title: Principal Consultant

How long at KKP: Ten years (on 27th April)

Typical duties/typical work day: I head up KKP’s greenspace and open space portfolio; acting as lead specialist in this area. I am also KKP’s in-house planner; drawing upon knowledge of planning policy to ensure clients are provided with the most relevant and up to date recommendations

Current projects/regions: I’m working on key open and greenspace projects in Dover, Arun, Kettering, Wirral, Uttlesford and Bassetlaw

Favourite aspect (s) of job: I enjoy the variation in where we work and the problem solving of different challenges facing local authorities with regard to open spaces and the competing demands of future housing growth

Interesting job related facts: I’ve worked on around 40 open space projects in the last 3/4 years and over 100 projects in total during my time at KKP

Outside work: I have in last 6 months also trained as a RoSPA play area inspector and I am about to do my 9th year as a Green Flag Judge. I like swimming (including open water swimming) and I follow Moto GP

Here’s more about our open spaces work


25 April 2020

Playing pitch strategy coverage: Core cities

Playing pitch strategy coverage: Core cities

KKP’s pre-eminence in delivery of high-quality playing pitch strategies has been reinforced by further major commissions. We deliver more PPS needs assessments and strategies than any other UK practice and have unrivalled coverage across the ten UK Core Cities having delivered at least one iteration for nine – and worked with all ten.

One reason for KKP’s high reputation is the comprehensive, inter-personal on the ground consultation we deliver. This enables the gathering of a substantially greater level of local insight and understanding than can be generated from an over-reliance on survey returns. This in turn enables us to generate a comprehensive strategy and action plan which is key to driving investment into playing pitch improvements (e.g. from Section 106 and planning gain).

Recent (2019) commissions include Glasgow and Cardiff where we have worked to adapt the Sport England Guidance to account for the different sporting and planning landscapes.

Our work quality is reflected by the volume of re-commissions and the follow-up work in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Birmingham – the groundwork began in 2014, when we were commissioned to identify new delivery models for local grassroots football in Birmingham on a project jointly commissioned by the FA and Birmingham City Council. The latest PPS was delivered, by us, in 2016.

Liverpool – we completed the City’s 2013 PPS as a pilot for the new PPS Guidance: An Approach to Developing and Delivering a Playing Pitch Strategy (authored by KKP). We recently completed the 2018 update to inform the City’s FA Parklife programme.

Manchester – we produced the City’s 2017 PPS and Action Plan working closely with partners to develop a vision and objectives linked to potential FA Parklife submission. This iteration follows our delivery of its 2010 and 2013 strategies.

Newcastle – having completed its 2015 PPS we were commissioned to apply the Strategy and Action Plan to strategic housing developments and in doing so help to inform production of Sport England’s new Playing Pitch Calculator tool. We updated the City‘s PPS in 2018.

Nottingham – after delivering its 2015 PPS we were commissioned to update it in 2017/18 in lieu of a potential ‘Greater Nottingham’ application to the FA’s Parklife programme (which included hubs in Gedling, Rushcliffe and Newark & Sherwood – for which we have also delivered recent PPS assignments).

Sheffield – subsequent to completing its PPS in 2012 KKP was commissioned by the City Council and the FA to test the impact of developing a football hub sites across the city. This study gave birth to the FA’s Parklife funding initiative which has been rolled out nationally.

Key stats:

  • Total number of site assessments undertaken by KKP on Core City PPS projects 2,000
  • Total number of football clubs consulted with in Core City PPS studies c. 1,750


23 April 2019

FA National Facilities Strategy – local football facility plans update

This is the largest commission of its kind in the UK. The FA is looking to assess and set out its priorities at local level so as to underpin delivery of its National Facilities Strategy and inform discussion about required national levels of investment with local authorities, football partners and other stakeholders.

KKP is close to half way through its commission from the FA, DCMS, and the Premier League, to deliver 330 local football facility plans (LFFPs) – one for every local authority in England.  The first 71 have been approved and another 80 are in the process of final review by the FA or being signed off by individual project steering groups prior to receipt by the FA.

A review of the approved plans, which cover local authorities located in County FA areas of West Riding, Birmingham, Cheshire, Manchester, Sheffield & Hallam plus others, makes interesting reading. Thus far, a total of 1,850 separate projects has been identified across key LFFP themes:

  • The development of 429 new 3G football turf pitches.
  • Improvements to 2,305 strategically significant grass pitches.
  • The development of new or refurbishment/replacement of 455 changing pavilions.
  • Creation of 506 small sided football facilities including multi use games areas and futsal venues.

The Football Foundation is already working with partners to deliver the first tranche of these over the next 3-5 years. Being able to operate with this level of accuracy and detail is also enabling the FA, Government and partners to have an informed in-depth discussion on how community football investment is prioritised over the next decade.

KKP is delighted to be delivering this ground-breaking work on behalf of the football partners. We would like to thank colleagues across a range of organisations for their input into the various plans; including the FA, Football Foundation, County FAs, local authorities, clubs and community organisations.

This is an exciting time for community football across the country: KKP is helping to shape the facility base to enable the sustainability and development of the sport for future generations.