8.1 With limited public sector resources for new recreational development, it is desirable that the benefit from existing recreational sites and facilities be maximised. This includes keeping current sites in recreation use wherever possible and pursuing opportunities for their enhancement. Sites under pressure from other forms of development, especially playing fields in urban areas, could, even if their existing use is no longer viable or necessary, often be used in whole or part to accommodate new and changing demands for recreation. Loss of recreation land in urban areas will not only change the character of those areas, but may need to be replaced at a later date on sites which are increasingly difficult to find and may prove prohibitive in expenditure terms.
Policy Re 1
The Borough Council will normally resist the loss of land, water and buildings used or proposed to be used for recreation and leisure. Exceptionally where such a loss does occur then alternative facilities should normally be provided nearby. The Borough Council will encourage the maintenance and enhancement of existing recreation and leisure facilities, where these are appropriately located and will give priority to those which meet identified shortfalls.
(1) The Borough Council would normally expect any proposal which would result in the loss or partial loss of an existing recreational facility to be supported by evidence of reasonable attempts to dispose of the land and/or buildings for an alternative recreational or community use. The Borough Council will also seek the advice of Sport England and the Surrey Playing Fields Association on such proposals.
(2) Existing football pitches are generally well used and many are overused, so that by the end of the season they are in poor condition. There are also a number of informal pitches in the Borough, including those at Lonesome Lane, Reigate; Petridgewood, Redhill; and Riverside, Horley.
(3) The construction of synthetic all-weather pitches can greatly increase pitch usage and can accommodate a number of differing sports. Such provision will normally be encouraged in appropriate locations which do not conflict with other policies of this Plan and in particular those concerning landscape and nature conservation issues.
(4) Proposals for the extension of existing indoor facilities will be assessed against Policy Re 12.
8. 2 In order to protect the character of the Borough and to meet normal development control criteria, developments will be expected to meet high standards of design, layout and construction. Above all proposals should not detract from the overall character of an area and should enhance that character wherever possible.
Policy Re 2
In order to maintain and enhance the natural and built environment of the Borough, all proposals for recreational development will normally be required to:-
(i) make the best use of the physical characteristics of the site, views into and out of the site and aspect; existing trees, vegetation and other interesting features will be expected to be retained;
(ii) be of a scale and form which would respect the general pattern of development in the area and avoid undue change in building heights;
(iii) comprise a layout and design which insulates against the transmission of noise and does not adversely effect the amenities of adjoining properties;
(iv) be designed to a high standard incorporating elevational treatments, roofscape and building materials which complement the character of the area;
(v) incorporate substantial additional landscaping, where appropriate, which should be considered at an early stage as an integral part of the overall design;
(vi) incorporate facilities for the disabled and for the easy movement of prams, pushchairs and wheelchairs;
(vii) provide satisfactory means for the storage and collection of refuse;
(viii) where necessary, extraction and plant equipment should be fitted in as unobtrusive manner as possible;
(ix) comply with the currently adopted stands for highway design, parking and servicing provision.
(x) take account of the effects on watercourses; and
(xi) take into account the requirements of energy conservation.
(1) The Borough Council will normally require applications to be supported by a thorough site survey assessing the quality of and effect of the proposed development on existing features. The survey should include reference to levels, aspect, views into and out of the site, trees, hedges, shrubs and other landscaping features, and to neighbouring properties. These factors must be taken into account in formulating even preliminary designated layouts. Applicants will, where appropriate, be expected to undertake a comprehensive tree survey identifying the location, species and condition of all trees on the site. Trees not only form a natural feature which it is impossible to replace immediately, but also can be used to reduce the visual impact of new development. Developers will be required to observe a strict code of tree protection during any construction period (see Policy Pc 4).
(2) As a general rule, development should not normally exceed the height of other buildings in the surrounding area in order to avoid overlooking, interference with established views, or having an adverse effect on the character of the area.
(3) Landscaping means the treatment of land for the purpose of enhancing or protecting the amenities of the site and the area in which it is situated, and includes screening by fences, walls or other means, planting of trees, hedges, shrub or grass, formation of banks, terraces or other earthworks, layout of gardens or courts, and other amenity features. Plans of proposed additional landscaping will be required at the detailed planning application stage so as to assess the quality of the proposed built environment in its finished form.
(4) Door widths, lift doors and lift carriages themselves, should all be designed to accommodate the needs of the disabled and their helpers and for prams and pushchairs, including double-buggies. For practical guidance on access for the disabled see the Approved Document dealing with the requirements from PART M of Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 1991.
(5) Traffic aspects will be evaluated in relation to the effect of the development on the existing highway network. Proposals will need to demonstrate that a satisfactory means of access can be provided to approved standards, without causing an increase in danger to road users and pedestrians, and without giving rise to undesirable visual impact upon the street scene, e.g. loss of important trees or hedges. The internal site layout will need to minimise noise and disturbance to neighbouring properties from traffic movements, by careful layout and screening, and in the choice of materials for hard surfaces. Poor design features, e.g. unsightly views of service areas and refuse facilities, large unrelieved parking areas, etc., should be avoided.
8.3 A survey of open spaces undertaken by the Borough Council during 1985 revealed deficiencies in many parts of the Borough in both formal and informal recreation facilities, when assessed against acknowledged standards of provision. The distribution of facilities also gives rise to deficiencies when assessed against accessibility criteria. Some deficiencies are also being exacerbated by additional housing developments.
8.4 To help meet these deficiencies provision will be made to allocate land as open space for the first time, although in the majority of situations enhanced provision will be made by changing the function of existing open spaces, dual use and improvement of existing facilities and/or by management agreements. Open space may also result as a requirement in respect of large residential developments, or from other large scale developments. Detailed consideration of the provision of facilities on individual sites is outside the scope of this Local Plan.
Policy Re 3
The following sites are allocated for public open space and are shown on the Proposals Map.
Banstead (Site completed)
Linear Park/ amenity open space.
Chapel Road, Redhill (Site completed)
Longmead, Redhill (Site deleted (1994))
New Pond Farm/
Reigate (Site completed as countryside open space)
Horley (Site completed)
Horley (Now Policy Hr 33 Site 5)
River Mole Park,
(Now part of the Riverside Green Chain, Horley (see Policy Hr 38))
Linear Park/ Riverside Walk
(1) Merstham Meadows contains a large amenity bank on its southern part screening the Malmstone Avenue/Radstock Way area from the M25. The adjoining land and the bank itself could be used for passive recreation, linking the Brook Road open space to the south with Furzefield Wood, Radstock Way recreation ground and the countryside to the east via FP.93.Land on the north side of the M25 could also be brought into use.
8.5 In order to further overcome the deficiencies identified in the survey of open spaces and where new allocations of land are not possible, it is expedient to encourage the dual use of other facilities, particularly for outdoor playing space. Priority will be given to those areas most lacking in public open space. With the use of agreements it may be possible to extend recreational provision in a more limited way but at relatively little financial cost to the community.
Policy Re 4
The Borough Council will seek to supplement provision of outdoor playing space, particularly in identified areas of deficiency, by encouraging dual use of private, institutional and educational facilities.
The Borough Council will seek agreements for the dual use of all or part of the following sites, as shown on the Proposals Map.
Warren Mead CMS,
Basing Road/Bolters Road,
De Burgh, Tadworth (Site deleted (1994)) See Policy Ho 8
Detached School Playing Field,
St. Albans Road,
Former Court Lodge CSS,
Court Lodge Road,
Horley (Site deleted (2005))
(1) All the above sites are currently owned by the County Council and the majority are in active education use. To date such agreements have been limited; however, there is now a greater commitment to strengthen links between schools and the community in general. The above sites could make a significant contribution to outdoor playing space provision and discussions will be undertaken with the County Council.
8.6 Normally play areas and sitting out areas should be located in all residential areas within easy access and walking distance, especially for young children. Using NPFA and accessibility standards, much of the Borough could be said to be deficient in such small local facilities. In some areas the only formal children's playgrounds are those owned by Registered Social Landlords. To supplement provision, the best use of existing open space and proposed open spaces will need to be made. The Borough Council is also committed to the provision of safe and stimulating play areas and a programme of converting existing areas is being undertaken.
Policy Re 5
The Borough Council will encourage the provision of new and enhanced safe play areas and small local open spaces where there is an acknowledged deficiency.
(1) Provision may be made by developing existing small areas of vacant or surplus land within urban areas adjacent to residential areas. The Borough Council will encourage community involvement for this purpose.
(2) Where additional outdoor playing space is to be provided under Policies Re 3, 4 or 6, provision can also be made for incorporating play areas and sitting out areas.
(3) Wherever possible, the Borough Council will promote dual use of private institutional or educational facilities for general public use in supplementing play areas and small local open spaces.
(4) The larger residential developments will normally be expected to provide safe children's play areas and small local open spaces in addition to amenity areas. This aspect is covered in Policy Ho 9 and Policy Re 6.
8. 7 Introduction: In order to provide sufficient recreational facilities to meet the requirements of the future population, it is necessary to ensure that all properties make their own contribution to the stock of such facilities. In the past, provision based on the National Playing Fields Association (NPFA) “6 Acre” standard has only been required on housing sites above a certain size threshold. The policy now provides for each new dwelling to make a contribution to the general outdoor playing space requirements, in addition to other open space requirements, in line with the National Playing Fields Association (NPFA) standards. (2001).
8.8 Purpose: To ensure that all new residential development provides for the recreational needs of its new occupants.
Policy Re 6
All new residential development should make provision for or contribute towards outdoor playing space provision. The National Playing Fields Association (NPFA) six acre standard (2001) will be used as a minimum level of provision.
In respect of non-family dwellings in a development, the requirement for children’s play space provision will not apply and in the case of sheltered housing for the elderly, the requirement for open space will be reduced to reflect the likely recreational needs created by the residents of that type of development.
In respect of developments of fewer than 15 family dwellings, a commuted payment to contribute to outdoor playing space provision in the locality will be requested.
(1) A non-family dwelling includes studio, one bedroom or sheltered accommodation. In the case of sheltered housing only landscaping and other amenity open space such as sitting out space will be required on-site.
(2) In areas of outdoor playing space deficiency, developments of fewer than 15 family dwellings will be expected to make commuted payments towards the provision or upgrading of facilities in whose catchment area (see below) or future catchment area they would lie. Where no future provision has been identified and no facilities are available for upgrading, no financial contribution will be sought.
(3) For developments of 15 family dwellings or more provision for outdoor playing space will be made within the development site for Local Area for Play (LAPs).
(4) The catchment walking times for Local Area for Play (LAPs) Local Equipped Area for Play, (LEAPs) and Neighbourhood Equipped Area for Play (NEAPs) are based on NPFA figures, whilst those for pitch and formal provision are distances which it is considered reasonable for people to travel to organised formal sports provision.
Local Area for Play(LAP)
1 minute walking time
Local Equipped Area for Play (LEAP)
5 minute walking time
Neighbourhood Equipped Area for Play (NEAP)
15 minute walking time.
The NPFA suggest that most active members of the public want facilities for home team games, informal play or training in their neighbourhood. Therefore, a 10-15 minute cycle ride or walk to local facilities is reasonable. Where provision would not reach the required size for a pitch for example, a commuted sum will be required towards the provision of a pitch elsewhere in the Borough, providing it is within the catchment area for the type of facility.
(5) Arrangements should be made for the management of play spaces provided, prior to the completion of the development.
(6) Further details of how this policy will be applied are contained within the Supplementary Planning Guidance on Outdoor Playing Space Provision, the 1996 version of which will be updated to bring it into line with this policy. In the meantime the 1996 version provides for general interpretation.
(7) The location of play space on major development sites will be subject to negotiation with the Borough Council to establish the most appropriate and efficient distribution. In addition to the requirements of this Policy, land allocations for public open space in Horley are made in Policy Hr 33.
8.9 A 1985 survey of allotments revealed that, while the Borough as a whole met the nationally recognised minimum standard of provision of 0.2ha (0.5 acres) per 1000 population, this masked significant deficiencies in the Horley area.
8.10 The demand for allotments varies over time for social and economic reasons. However, the Borough Council does recognise that they provide an important leisure facility and will normally seek to protect the existing supply.
Policy Re 7
Proposals involving the loss of allotment land will normally be resisted. On sites which experience prolonged vacancies the Borough Council may promote other recreational uses, but only where sufficient alternative allotment plots are available within the locality to meet demand.
(1) In addition to the application of this policy, land allocations for allotments in the Horley area are made in Policy Hr 35
8.11 It is appropriate to accept informal recreation facilities within the countryside, since impact on visual amenity and the environment generally is minimal. However, there will be a presumption against new buildings in order to protect the open character of the landscape. Predominantly outdoor types of formal recreation such as playing fields, outdoor tennis courts, athletic tracks and golf courses are normally consistent with maintaining the open nature of the countryside (see also Policy Re 9). It is recognised that these uses require ancillary buildings such as changing facilities and club houses, and small scale buildings to meet such needs will normally be acceptable.
8.12 It may be appropriate in exceptional circumstances to permit indoor recreational facilities in the countryside as a way of re-using redundant institutional or agricultural buildings, as long as this does not increase the intensity of use so as to adversely affect the character and amenities of the surrounding area.
Development of new indoor activities at sites given over to outdoor recreation will not normally be acceptable.
Policy Re 8
The provision of facilities for outdoor recreation outside the urban areas will normally be permitted if the proposal:-
(i) includes only minor ancillary buildings or structures;
(ii) does not conflict with the Green Belt, agricultural, landscape or wildlife policies of this Plan; and
(iii) meets the appropriate design criteria as set out in Policy Re 2 in full.
(1) The change of use of redundant rural buildings in connection with recreational proposals is dealt with in Policy Co 3.
(2) There will be a presumption against development of recreational facilities which require additional buildings other than minor ancillary buildings which are in character with the countryside.
(3) Any new buildings must be directly related to a recreational use of nearby land, or be ancillary to this use.
(4) The intensity of use and any new buildings must be consistent with the character and amenities of the area. Special considerations will apply within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Areas of Great Landscape Value, as formal recreation uses will normally be inappropriate in view of the purpose behind their designation (see Policy Pc 1).
(5) It is becoming apparent, from examples in the County and elsewhere, that war games can damage sites of nature conservation value. English Nature for instance, takes the view that such a use is incompatible within Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Sites of Nature Conservation Interest and ancient, semi-natural woodland in the County should also be considered inappropriate for war games because of the potential damage to wildlife. Where there are no nature conservation grounds for objection, temporary planning permission for three years will normally be granted to allow the monitoring of ecological effects and such monitoring will be a condition of the permission. The digging of trenches will not be permitted without planning permission. (See also Policies Pc 2B, Pc 2C and Pc 2D.)
8.13 There are currently seven full-sized courses and two nine-hole courses in the Borough (2005), which provide for a variety of skill levels. Most notable are the two courses at Walton Heath, which have a national reputation.
8.14 The northern part of the Borough is well supplied with six courses and there is an eighteen-hole and two nine-hole courses serving the Redhill and Reigate area. The southern part of the Borough is currently without any provision. In addition, the Borough has no eighteen-hole public courses.
Policy Re 9
The Borough Council will encourage the provision of an eighteen-hole golf course in an appropriate location to serve the southern part of the Borough. In addition the Borough Council will encourage greater public use of existing and proposed courses.
Proposals for new or extended golf courses will normally be permitted if:-
(i) the siting will not adversely affect areas protected for their traditional landscape character and/or their flora, fauna, architectural, historic or archaeological importance;
(ii) Grade 1, 2 and 3a agricultural land is avoided, and if surrounding agricultural land is protected;
(iii) there would be no undue conflict with other recreational uses;
(iv) the scale and amount of associated buildings would be compatible with Green Belt and Countryside Policies; and
(v) there would be no significant worsening of local traffic conditions.
Proposals will be required to comply with the appropriate design criteria set out in Policy Re 2 in full and should be supported by an appropriate appraisal of the environmental impact.
(1) As part of any planning permission for a new course, the Borough Council will seek an agreement to allow general public usage of the facility.
(2) The design criteria in Policy Re 2 and its amplification set out requirements in respect of site surveys and landscape features. For this type of development landscape issues are of critical importance. Minimal change to existing land forms should be proposed, and the retention of all significant features will be a requirement in order to assist in the maintenance of existing rural character. Substantial additional planting will normally be required.
(3) The Borough Council will expect only lower quality agricultural land to be used and the agricultural viability of the surrounding land not to be adversely affected. Specialist advice may be sought on agricultural matters.
(4) There should be no adverse impact on the use of existing footpaths and bridleways and, where the networks are disjointed, additional public access to the land will normally be sought.
(5) Additional buildings and ancillary facilities should be kept to a minimum and existing buildings on the site or in the same ownership should be fully utilized in the scheme, so that the amount of additional new building in the countryside is minimised. The provision of overnight accommodation, restaurant, swimming and other sports facilities unrelated to the open use of the land for golf, will not normally be permitted. Driving ranges, whether floodlit or not, will not normally be permitted in view of the intensity of activity and visual impact of such development.
(6) The development of a golf course can have a significant effect on the hydrology and hydraulics of an area, which must be assessed before works begin on site. Features having an adverse effect, such as landscaping within areas liable to flood, or unattenuated discharge of surface water, will be discouraged.
8.15 Public swimming pools at Merland Rise, Tadworth and the Horley Anderson Centre have been extended to provide additional facilities and may well provide the basis for further enhancements.
8.16 The Donyngs Recreation Centre at Redhill successfully serves the central part of the Borough although at present demand for its facilities is considerable, resulting in some over bookings. Additional indoor sports facilities in the south of the Borough and in the north would reduce some of the pressure on Donyngs. However, there is scope to examine the provision of further indoor sports facilities in the central part of the Borough.
Policy Re 10
The Borough Council will continue to improve and enhance Donyngs Recreation Centre, Linkfield Lane, Redhill; the Banstead Sports Centre, Merland Rise, Tadworth; and the Horley Anderson Centre, Thornton Close, Horley, as multi-purpose recreation centres.
(1) Banstead Sports Centre is suitable for the provision of additional facilities within its present curtilage. The site has considerable active recreational potential and its future development will be the subject of detailed consideration, including access and parking issues.
(2) The Horley Anderson Centre site is constrained by both physical and access limitations.
8.17 Given the considerable demand for indoor sports facilities and the heavy use of the Donyngs Recreation Centre, the Borough Council will examine proposals for enhancing provision by the leasing of space within existing facilities and investigating the provision of shared accommodation. The Borough Council will also encourage the provision of such facilities by other public bodies, including schools, and by private companies in appropriate locations.
Policy Re 11
The Borough Council will seek to supplement the provision of indoor recreation by encouraging dual use of private, institutional and education facilities.
(1) A sports hall was provided at Oakwood School, Balcombe Road, Horley in 1993.This is primarily being used for educational purposes but is available for public and club letting (Oakwood Sports Centre).
8.18 Existing public, private and community buildings throughout the Borough cater for an extensive range of indoor pursuits, although it is recognised that many demands remain unsatisfied because of the lack of suitable venues. With more leisure time and the levels of disposable income in this Borough, demands are only likely to increase.
8.19 Private investment is perhaps more readily available for the provision of indoor facilities, particularly given the overall level of demand for development in this Borough and a wider potential catchment area resulting from the proximity to the M25. Such potential should be harnessed to supplement Borough Council provision, including through Integrated Mixed Use Schemes, but within the context of a researched and co-ordinated recreation and leisure strategy. Such opportunities should, wherever possible, be available for everyone, including the elderly and those with disabilities for whom access to facilities is especially important.
Policy Re 12
The Borough Council will normally encourage proposals for new provision, rebuilding or extensions for sporting, leisure and cultural facilities within the urban areas if:-
(i) the proposal conforms with the other policies of this Plan;
(ii) the proposal would not result in a significant worsening of local traffic conditions; and
(iii) the design requirements as set out in Policy Re 2 are met in full.
Such facilities will be promoted particularly where appropriate within Integrated Mixed Use Schemes, as shown on the Proposals Map.
(1) In accordance with Policies Co 1 and Re 8 there is a strong presumption against the provision of indoor recreational facilities in the Green Belt.
(2) Facilities may be provided for individual specialist use or in the form of buildings appropriate for a number of differing activities. While consideration will be given to a wide range of activities and facilities, the Borough Council will give encouragement, in appropriate locations, for the following:-
indoor bowling rink
(3) Where the redevelopment of existing indoor facilities is unavoidable, replacement facilities will normally be required, unless the demand for that activity has substantially diminished, or satisfactory alternative provision is available within the locality.
8.20 Despite a lack of major tourist facilities, the Borough has a lot to offer the casual visitor with its accessible open countryside and historic buildings and areas, e.g. the North Downs Way and the associated Greensand Way, Reigate Priory, historic Reigate, Walton Heath and Banstead Woods. In general terms tourism can be important for recreational provision and has economic benefits with the generation of local employment and "spin-offs" to existing businesses and shops.
8.21 The most significant area for planning is that of accommodation. At present there is a reasonable spread of facilities in this and adjoining districts, particularly to the south catering for Gatwick Airport. Should a need be identified, opportunities for hotels and guest houses, and for caravan and camping sites and associated facilities, could be reviewed, but provision will only be made on environmentally acceptable sites, and within the context of other policies in this Plan.
8.22 Future demand for accommodation may be affected by increased throughput of traffic generated in a number of areas, for example, expansion of Gatwick Airport and the increase in volume of passengers, and in the use of the M25. Consequently it will be necessary for the Borough Council to monitor such demand during the period of the Plan.
8.23 As most of the Borough is in the Green Belt, new hotels can only be encouraged on appropriate sites within urban areas. The volume of new building and commercial activity involved in the establishment of new hotels in the countryside would not normally be considered consistent with policies which seek to maintain an open and rural character. Proposals for extensions to existing facilities in the countryside would need to be justified by very special circumstances under Policy Co1.
8.24 Limited provision for guest houses is found in Reigate and Redhill, but is more concentrated in Horley, where demand is generated by the close proximity of Gatwick Airport. Guest houses are generally not purpose-built, but result from the conversion of larger houses on through-traffic routes where they can be "seen" by passing motorists, or easily located without making inroads into wholly residential areas.
Policy Re 13
Proposals for new hotels and guest houses, including change of use, and extensions to existing hotels and guest houses, will be considered against the following criteria:-
In the urban areas permission will normally be granted if:-
(i) the residential character of the area is not adversely affected, where this is applicable;
(ii) the proposal does not conflict with other policies of this Plan; and
(iii) the appropriate design criteria as set out in Policy Re 2 are met in full.
Outside the urban areas permission will not normally be granted for new hotels or guest houses and/or ancillary conference facilities (whether as part of an existing or new hotel or guest house). Extensions to existing hotels and guest houses would need to be justified by very special circumstances under Policy Co 1.
(1) The Borough Council will give favourable consideration to schemes which include hotel provision as part of an Integrated Mixed Use Scheme within town centres.
(2) Future provision for both hotels and guest houses will largely be governed by the number of suitable properties available, which is likely to be limited. Most pressure is likely to arise for guest houses in the Horley area, and any permissions granted will normally reflect existing concentrations of guest houses and not make inroads into wholly residential areas.
(3) In exceptional cases where permission is granted involving the loss of residential units, then the developer will normally be required to provide replacement dwellings. Where a change of use is involved and an exception is to be made to Policy Ho 1, the Borough Council would normally expect that separate accommodation for the owner is retained.
(4) As there is the need to protect the amenities of adjoining residences from the increased activity and potential nuisance associated with hotels and guest houses, especially at unsocial hours, the size of the curtilage should be adequate to afford such protection and to accommodate satisfactorily the required level of car parking provision, together with amenity space and an area for the storage of refuse.
(5) This policy does not carry a presumption in favour of extensions or intensification of use. It is not intended, for example, that guest houses in residential areas should develop into mini hotels, or provide facilities for non-residents, and conditions will be imposed accordingly.