Newark and Sherwood District Council underlines commitment to sports and leisure

Posted on: Wednesday, February 21, 2024

With cost pressures on sporting facilities widely reported on across the country, Newark and Sherwood District Council are bucking the trend by re-affirming its commitment to provide sporting facilities across the district, with 2 major new strategies being approved by the Cabinet on 20 February covering playing pitches and outdoor sports as well as an updated ‘Sport and Recreation Facilities Strategy’.

Both strategies underline the Council’s commitment to work collaboratively with a range of key partners to maintain current access to facilities to all communities and, where appropriate, to update facilities and provide new ones in the future based on evidence of need. 

A full review of the current provision across the District has been undertaken and is being used to identify areas of need. The review of outdoor facilities has looked at what is available in the area for football, hockey, tennis, lawn bowls, rugby and cricket.

The stated aim of the strategy is to protect the existing supply of outdoor sport facilities and ancillary facilities:

  1. To ensure, through the use of the Playing Pitch and Outdoor Sport Strategy, that outdoor sport facilities are protected through the implementation of local planning policy.
  2. To secure tenure and access to sites for high quality, development-minded clubs, through a range of solutions and partnership agreements.

Councillor Susan Crosby, Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Leisure at Newark and Sherwood District Council explained, “We have an on-going commitment to promoting health lifestyles, part of that is to provide facilities that our residents can use to enjoy an active lifestyle. Working with existing partners including governing bodies of sport and sports clubs, we want to ensure that in Newark and Sherwood, we continue to have access to excellent sporting facilities across the district. Whilst there is no statutory requirement to deliver these facilities, the benefits to our residents and the local economy make this a priority for the Council.

“We want to increase access to sites that are currently not available to the general public so that provision can be optimised for all groups and communities. This will involve a lot of work for all the interested parties but will put our District in a great position for the future.

“We will be giving thought to how our residents can get to these facilities, with provision being given to store cycles and easy walking access. There is an opportunity to use sport as a way to regenerate areas of deprivation by giving residents a focus for their communities.”

Running alongside the Playing Pitch and Outdoor Sport Strategy is the Sport and Recreation Facilities Strategy which focuses on the provision of leisure centres, strategic sport hubs and community sports facilities to ensure local residents have appropriate access to sports and recreation facilities within their local communities.

This new strategy, which will drive decisions through to 2033, will look to protect existing facilities, unlock existing facilities that are currently not accessible to the wider community and use data to identify future trends in sports participation and provision to balance supply and demand challenges and opportunities.

On top of this, the strategy delivers a framework for the planning and provision of new facilities, taking into account future trends, housing developments and demographic changes across the communities.

The strategy identifies different levels of priority projects, including maintenance and repair of existing assets across the District, the delivery of third generation (3G) pitches and delivering the Clipstone Colliery Regeneration Scheme.

Through the application of this Strategy the District Council will seek to invest in the district’s sports and recreation infrastructure using a needs-based assessment, against the hierarchy of provision, in order to ensure that sport and recreation facilities are accessible, affordable and sustainable and remain so in the future.

“These two strategies provide a suite of overarching, long term strategic priorities for sports and recreation infrastructure. Our previous Sport and Recreation Facilities Improvement Plan delivered a number of strategic projects which have improved the facilities on offer across our district. Such facilities include the Newark Sports and Fitness Centre which replaced the aging Grove Leisure Centre, the YMCA’s Community and Activity Village, the new swimming pool at the Dukeries Leisure Centre in Ollerton and the refurbishment of the artificial grass pitches at The Joseph Whitaker Academy, Rainworth and Magnus Academy, Newark,” explains Councillor Crosby.

“As the Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Leisure I recognise the importance of sport and physical activity in maintaining health and wellbeing and reducing social isolation. I am keen that we continue to support all our residents to live healthy, active lives. The provision of sports and recreational facilities is not however, the sole responsibility of the District Council, so we will work with key partners to ensure that there is a common understanding of the demand for facilities, the benefits of provision and the shared responsibility to deliver for our communities.

“We are committed to facilitating and enabling the continued delivery of vibrant sports and recreation facilities which are functional, flexible and sustainable and which will serve our community for many years to come.”