Harrogate council to spend £19,500 on sporting fields assessment

A review has been commissioned to look into the provision of sports fields in Harrogate.
A review has been commissioned to look into the provision of sports fields in Harrogate.

Harrogate Borough Council will lay out up to £19,500 for a company to assess the current and future demand of sporting fields in the district.

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Cabinet member for planning Councillor Rebecca Burnett approved the outlay and appointment of sports and leisure consultancy group, Strategic Leisure, at a meeting on December 13.

The assessment will be used to form the framework for the local plan policy preparation, as well as in the future when planning applications involving the addition or loss of playing pitches and indoor facilities are involved.

The updated review comes after Sport England, the government department overseeing sports involvement and participation in the county, said the Outdoor Sports Strategy compiled in 2013 is now outdated.

Sport England indicated, in their responses to the Local Plan, that the 2013 strategy was not considered to be an up to date assessment because it was prepared over five years ago, was not prepa5red in line with Sport England’s latest playing pitch guidelines, and did not include an indoor sports assessment.

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Strategic Leisure will now be tasked with preparing the updated analysis, with a budget of up to £19,500 to cover it.

In order to approve their involvement, the council had to approve single supplier status, foregoing their usual tender process.

The reasons given for this were that Strategic Leisure is currently undertaking an indoor sports strategy and leisure options appraisal with Harrogate Borough Council, and have previously completed similar reports for the council and neighbouring authorities.

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Given their familiarity with the region, the council reasoned that their previous knowledge of the area would reduce the time and cost of the appraisal.

Lachlan Leeming , Local Democracy Reporting Service