Planning gain/developer contributions: Newcastle City Council

Like other local authorities, Newcastle City Council (NCC) is under significant pressure to provide additional housing. With this comes population growth and demand for additional provision. NCC is committed to providing a network of high quality, sustainable playing pitches for residents based on robust analysis of supply and demand. Following our successful completion of the City’s PPS, we are working with the City to ensure that new housing development is accompanied by the appropriate level of new or improved playing pitch provision.

To ensure that the contributions sought are fair, they must be assessed using statutory tests related to Section 106 planning obligations:

  • Are they necessary to make development acceptable in planning terms?
  • Are they directly related to the development; and
  • Are they fair and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development?

To ensure that these tests are met, the impact of new development on playing pitch provision is measured and related contributions are then determined according to this impact. Underpinning this is the calculation of the number of teams generated through population growth due to new housing and (based upon team generation rates) the number of pitches required to cater for this increase. This leans upon the physical dimensions and quality/capacity metrics provided by national governing bodies of sport (NGBs).

KKP has created a template for each NCC analysis area, setting out a more specific, locally defined hierarchy of parameters relating to:

  • How to provide good quality accessible playing fields in line with NGB requirements (including provision of artificial grass pitches and floodlighting).
  • How to ensure that best use is made of available playing field by improving access to facilities not owned or managed by the City Council.
  • How best to use developer contributions (plus other funding sources) to improve those sites identified as in need of improvement leading to greater capacity for matches to be played and/or maintenance of quality to ensure that existing levels of use can be maintained.
  • The creation of new playing pitches to meet specifically identified shortfalls with the provisos that they:
    • Must (for football/rugby) be larger than single pitch venues
    • For cricket they must be equal to or larger than one ground
    • Should all include provision of on-site changing/toilet facilities, sustainable on-going site maintenance capacity and reflect Sport England and NGB guidance on pitch dimensions, quality and technical specifications.

Where new developments are assessed against this any required to provide over two hectares of playing field will normally be expected to provide new pitches/ facilities rather than upgrading an existing venue. In addition, Sport England and NGBs must be consulted to ensure that developments and improvements are in line with their strategic priorities.

For more information contact: claire.fallon@kkp.co.uk