The Council recognises that local scale facilities must be located close to the population they serve. To this end, the Council will ensure, as far as practicable, that open space and recreational facilities are accessible by sustainable means of transport; namely walking, cycling and public transport, depending on the catchment of the facility in question. In general, there will be a presumption against the location of facilities in out-of-centre sites unless the nature of the development is such that it is tied to the location, e.g. a walking trail. Applications for new recreational facilities will be subject to a sequential test. Sequential development means that the overall preferred location for new recreational facilities is within city and town centres or on edge-of-centre sites. Only where the applicant can demonstrate, and the planning authority is satisfied, that there are no sites or potential sites within or on the edge of centres or that suitable pedestrian and cycling connectivity is available should an out-of-centre site be considered.
In cases where the nature of the development is such that it is tied to the location, e.g. a walking trail, or a centre connected to existing amenities at that location, the following criteria should be met (in cases where no suitable sites exist within or on the edge of centres, out of centre sites will also be subject to these criteria):
- the development will not cause harm to the appearance and character of the local landscape and can be readily absorbed into its surroundings by taking advantage of existing vegetation and /or topography;
- the amenity of the people living nearby or the enjoyment of other countryside users is not adversely affected by the nature, scale, extent, frequency or timing of the recreational activities proposed including any noise or lighting likely to be generated;
- Any ancillary built development is small in scale, designed to a high standard and sympathetic to the surrounding environment in its siting, layout and landscape treatment.
- Consideration is given to access to the proposed facility by means of transport other than the private car and;
- The local road network can safely handle the extra traffic the proposal would generate and satisfactory arrangements are provided for access, parking, drainage, litter and water services.