14 Recreation

Policy R 1

Protection of Recreation Land and Facilities

The development of existing recreation land or facilities will not be permitted unless:

  1. the development is for formal or informal recreation purposes that would contribute to the continued recreation use of the site;
  2. adequate replacement recreation provision, of equivalent or better accessibility, community benefit and management, is made in a suitable location, to the satisfaction of the city council;
  3. it has been clearly demonstrated that the site is surplus to recreational requirements, and the development would facilitate the wider regeneration of the local area; or
  4. the development is ancillary to the principal use of the site.

Reasoned justification

14.5 The policy applies to all existing sites and facilities that have a recreation use and value, irrespective of whether they are owned or managed by the public, private, or voluntary sectors. This will include outdoor facilities such as parks, urban greens, playing fields (including school playing fields that have a community use), waterways, golfing facilities, allotments, and other land used for informal recreation pursuits such as walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing, sitting, and quiet contemplation, as well as indoor recreation facilities such as sports halls and swimming pools. School playing fields are afforded additional protection through Policy EHC2 'Redevelopment of Redundant Schools and Colleges' of the plan, and the majority of outdoor facilities will also be protected by the sequential approach to development set out in Policy ST11 'Location of New Development'. The impact on nature conservation will be an important material consideration, which will be assessed against the policies of the Environmental protection and improvement chapter, having regard to the Greater Manchester Biodiversity Action Plan.

14.6 Recreation provision is a vital means of maintaining and improving the quality of life within the city, and assisting the process of urban regeneration. Recreation land, such as parks, playing fields, and other areas of open space, can also make a significant contribution to the greening of the urban environment and the character of local areas. It is therefore important that recreation land and facilities receive protection in the UDP from development pressures.

14.7 In determining whether a development proposal would have a detrimental impact on the provision of outdoor recreation facilities in the local area, the city council will have regard to the Salford Greenspace Strategy Supplementary Planning Document, which has been identified for production in Salford’s Local Development Scheme and which will form part of Salford’s Local Development Framework. This will set out minimum standards for the provision of outdoor recreation facilities within the city, as well as identifying those recreational resources that need to be retained. Open space will not be considered surplus for the purposes of this policy if its loss would result in the minimum standards for open space not being met. Any demonstration that a site is surplus to recreational requirements must be based on a carefully quantified assessment of current and future needs. Where appropriate, local communities will be consulted on the provision of replacement facilities.

Policy R 2

Provision of Recreation Land and Facilities

Planning permission for recreation development will be granted unless it would:

  1. have an unacceptable impact on residential amenity in terms of noise, traffic generation, light pollution, hours of operation, visual amenity, or any other disturbance;
  2. have an unacceptable impact on highway safety in terms of traffic generation, parking or servicing;
  3. fail to make adequate provision for cyclists, pedestrians and disabled people;
  4. have an unacceptable impact on the quiet enjoyment of the open countryside;
  5. have an unacceptable impact on sites or features of archaeological, ecological, geological or landscape value; or
  6. have an unacceptable impact on existing recreation facilities.

In considering proposals for new or improved recreational land or facilities the city council will seek to ensure that the following standards are met:

  1. all households to be within:
    1. 400 metres walking distance of a Locally Equipped Area of Play;
    2. 1,000 metres walking distance of a Neighbourhood Equipped Area of Play;
    3. 1,200 metres walking distance of a Neighbourhood Park; and
    4. 3,200 metres walking distance of a District Park;
  2. a full range of youth and adult facilities available in each Service Delivery Area;
  3. a minimum of 0.73 ha of high quality managed sports pitches per 1,000 population;
  4. a minimum of 0.25 ha of equipped children’s playspace per 1,000 population; and
  5. amenity open space to a standard reasonably related in scale and kind to the development it serves and sufficient to meet the need for casual children’s play space.

Reasoned justification

14.8 The provision of recreation land and facilities by the public, private or voluntary sectors is important to ensure that recreation needs are satisfied. As well as recreation and sports facilities within the urban area and alongside the city’s waterways, recreation development may also include ancillary facilities such as visitor/education, equipment hire, and interpretation facilities aimed at enhancing the enjoyment of the countryside.

14.9 However, some recreation development, such as children’s play areas, skateboard parks, and kickabout areas, can sometimes have a negative impact, particularly in terms of compatibility with other land uses such as housing. As a result, equipped play areas will normally be expected to be at least 30m from the nearest dwelling.

14.10 Where necessary, conditions will be used to ensure amenity is protected, for example through limits on hours of operation, particularly for floodlighting. Recreation sites in the countryside will need to make adequate connections to, and where appropriate improvements to, the network of strategic recreation routes in accordance with Policy R5 'Countryside Access Network' and Policy DEV 5 'Planning Conditions and Obligations'.

14.11 The standards set out within the policy are derived from audits of current recreational provision in the city, and the guidance of the National Playing Fields Association. They will apply in relation to the provision of recreational facilities in all circumstances, including proposals considered under Policy R6 'New and Improved Recreation Land and Facilities' and Policy H8 'Open Space Provision Associated with New Housing Development'. The calculation of the amount of amenity open space required in any individual case will have regard to existing provision and needs, as set out in the council’s Greenspace Strategy.

Policy R 3

Regional Park

A Strategic Regional Park will be established within The Countryside and Urban Fringe of Salford (as defined in the spatial framework), and the Irwell Valley (as defined in Policy EN5 'Irwell Valley'). The contribution that development would make to the achievement of the objectives of the Regional Park will be a material consideration in the determination of proposals within it. Development which would unacceptably prevent or inhibit the achievement of those objectives will not be permitted.

Reasoned justification

14.12 Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West supports the provision of Strategic Regional Parks in and around the North West Metropolitan Area, which includes Salford. Strategic regional parks are extensive areas connected by a variety of natural landscapes and/or cultural heritage where the co-ordinated promotion of opportunities predominantly for informal outdoor recreation and leisure, and sporting provision, together with positive planning and management, based on the Core Development Principles of the Regional Spatial Strategy, will complement the regional effort to secure an urban and rural renaissance.

14.13 A Strategic Framework Document for the Regional Park is to be prepared at the regional level which among other things will establish its broad vision and objectives, and a set of overarching guiding principles for projects being promoted within it.

14.14 For Salford, the purpose of the Regional Park would be to:

  • provide a wide range of open land based recreation opportunities for the residents of the city and the region;
  • facilitate public access to those recreation opportunities;
  • enhance the city’s open space network;
  • improve biodiversity and the city’s landscapes;
  • protect and maximise interest in the city’s heritage;
  • secure the reclamation of derelict and contaminated land;
  • support the Red Rose Forest initiative;
  • ensure the active management of the city’s Countryside and Urban Finge;
  • enhance the image and appearance of the city;
  • support tourism within the city; and
  • provide educational opportunities.

14.15 The Regional Park will build on the physical, environmental, cultural and recreational assets of the area, in particular the following: Salford’s Countryside; Key Recreation Areas; the River Irwell; The Bridgewater Canal; the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal; and Barton Aerodrome. More detailed policy for the Regional Park will be incorporated into successor documents to the UDP at the time of periodic review. In the meantime, other policies in the UDP seek to promote or protect those assets consistent with the general objectives of the Regional Park.

Policy R 4

Key Recreation Areas

Planning permission will only be granted for development within, adjoining or directly affecting a key recreation area where it would be consistent with the following objectives:

  1. the protection and enhancement of the existing and potential recreational use of the area;
  2. the protection and improvement of the amenity of the area;
  3. the protection of existing trees, woodlands and other landscape features;
  4. where appropriate, the provision, improvement and maintenance of new areas of woodland planting;
  5. the provision, improvement and maintenance of public access where appropriate, for walking, cycling, horse riding and water-based recreational activities;
  6. the provision, improvement and maintenance of accessible, open land recreation uses; and
  7. the protection, provision, improvement and maintenance of the quality and diversity of wildlife habitats.

Reasoned justification

14.16 The city council has identified a series of key recreation areas, which are of city-wide importance and are linked by the network of strategic recreation routes. These key recreation areas include areas of Green Belt, open land and the Worsley Greenway, which have great potential to help meet the demand for recreational uses, in a sustainable way, by providing formal and informal recreational opportunities close to where a large number of residents live. It may not be possible to provide unrestricted public access across the whole of the key recreation areas, but such access will be maximised as far as possible. Parts of the key recreation areas also lie within the wider Core Forest Areas identified in the Red Rose Forest Plan.

14.17 Some of the key recreation areas comprise neglected and underused land, which is to be the recipient of funding under the Newlands Programme. This will help to achieve transformations in the landscape of a scale that will change the image of the city and secure substantial local benefits. A number of the key recreation areas have the potential to form an important green gateway to Salford and to contribute to the objectives of the Regional Park (Policy R3 'Regional Park').

14.18 There are eight key recreation areas, and these are shown on the proposals map:

  1. Blackleach Country Park;
  2. Clifton Country Park;
  3. Clifton/Wardley Moss;
  4. Littleton Road/The Cliff;
  5. Peel Park/The Meadows;
  6. Slack Brook Country Park;
  7. Worsley Woods and Greenway; and
  8. Salford Quays.

14.19 Further guidance on key recreation areas will be included in the proposed Salford Greenspace Strategy supplementary planning document. In the event that any of the key recreation areas is identified as a Regional Park Project, then a Regional Park Project Plan will be prepared, outlining its relationship with the proposed Regional Park and other related initiatives.

Policy R 5

Countryside Access Network

Planning permission will not be granted for development that would result in the permanent obstruction or closure of any part of the Countryside Access Network, unless an alternative route is provided that is equally attractive and convenient.

New development that is proposed on a site needed for the provision of a new route or link as part of the Countryside Access Network will be required to incorporate that route/link as part of the development.

Reasoned justification

14.20 The Countryside Access Network is formed by a number of existing and proposed strategic recreation routes, which are shown on the proposals map. The purpose of the network is to facilitate safe and effective access for pedestrians, cyclists and, where appropriate, horse riders to the countryside and other important recreation sites. The protection and improvement of the network is therefore an important factor in ensuring that local people have access to a range of good quality recreation opportunities.

14.21 Opportunities to expand the network will be taken where possible. Development that increases the demand for access to the countryside will need to make a contribution towards improved access arrangements and/or management, in accordance with Policy DEV5 'Planning Conditions and Obligations'. Additional protection is provided to public rights of way by  Policy A2 'Cyclists, Pedestrians and the Disabled'. Where it is impracticable to provide a new strategic recreation route on the line shown on the proposals map, then an alternative, which will be well designed, effective, accessible and safe for users should be provided as close to that line as possible.

Policy R 6

New and Improved Recreation Land and Facilities

The following sites are allocated for new or improved recreation use:

  1. Glazebrook Valley, Cadishead (7.4 ha);
  2. Liverpool Road / Mytholme Avenue, Cadishead (0.7 ha);
  3. the Duncan Mathieson Playing Fields and adjoining land, Claremont (11.6 ha);
  4. land off Rutland Road / Chatsworth Road (Three Sisters), Eccles (4.3 ha);
  5. former Ferry Hill Tip, north of Ferry Road, Irlam (10.6 ha);
  6. land off Sandy Lane, Irlam (1.1 ha);
  7. River Irwell Old Course, Irlam / Cadishead (6.1 ha);
  8. land at Kersal High School, Kersal (4.0 ha);
  9. land to south and west of former Peel Hall Hospital, Little Hulton (5.0 ha);
  10. former Stowell Memorial Playing Fields, Ordsall (0.6 ha);
  11. former Robin Hood Sidings and adjacent land, Pendlebury (17.2 ha);
  12. land at Duchy Road, Irwell Riverside (14.3 ha);
  13. land at rear of Coniston Road, Valley Estate, Swinton South (1.0 ha);
  14. Ellenbrook Brickworks, Walkden South (7.7 ha);
  15. land at Bedford Fields, Walkden South (4.0 ha);
  16. Alder Forest, Winton (9.0 ha);
  17. Cleavley Nursery, Winton (3.4 ha);
  18. Brookhouse Community Woodland, Winton (22.1 ha);
  19. land adjacent to Bridgewater Canal, Boothstown & Ellenbrook (20.5 ha); and
  20. land to north of Simpson Grove, Boothstown & Ellenbrook (1.6 ha).

In addition to the above sites, the following sites are allocated under Policy MX3 'Sites for a Mix of Open Space and Built Development' for a mix of open space and development:

  1. Clegg’s Lane, Walkden North (Policy MX 3/1); and
  2. Whit Lane, Irwell Riverside (Policy MX 3/2).

Reasoned justification

14.22 The development and improvement of the sites listed above will help to contribute towards ensuring the adequate provision and distribution of both formal and informal recreation land and facilities throughout the city. Many will also support the Red Rose Forest initiative. Where appropriate, planning obligations will be used to secure their recreation use as part of new housing developments in the local area, in accordance with Policy H8 'Open Space Provision Associated with New Housing Development' and Policy DEV5 'Planning Conditions and Obligations'. The nature conservation value of the sites should be protected and enhanced wherever possible.

R 6/1. Glazebrook Valley, Cadishead (7.4 ha)

14.23 The Glazebrook Valley is an attractive area on the western fringe of the city. In the past, access and landscape improvements have been carried out, and the Glazebrook Trail runs through the site forming part of the strategic recreation route. Further improvements are required to address issues of past tipping and establish new landscaping.

R 6/2. Liverpool Road / Mytholme Avenue, Cadishead (0.7 ha)

14.24 This untidy site detracts from one of the gateways to the city. It offers potential for environmental improvements and could be linked to the Glazebrook Valley by the provision of a footpath from Liverpool Road. This footpath would form part of the city’s Strategic Recreation Route Network.

R 6/3. The Duncan Mathieson playing fields and adjoining land, Claremont (11.6 ha)

14.25 This land comprises the present privately owned Duncan Mathieson Playing Fields and 3.1ha of adjoining unused land in the council’s ownership. The former are under-used and would benefit from improvement, while the latter provides the opportunity to build on the present resource by concentrating a large number of high quality sports pitches within a single location. Together the land could contribute substantially to the council’s emerging Salford Greenspace Strategy as a key location with the potential to harness both public and private funding for the provision of a wide range of recreational facilities. There is also an identified need for the provision of equipped children’s play areas. In view of the proximity of the site to housing, care will be necessary to ensure any proposals respect the need to protect the amenity of local residents.

R 6/4. Land off Rutland Road / Chatsworth Road (Three Sisters), Eccles (4.3 ha)

14.26 This site is valued by local people as an informal recreational area and local wildlife resource. The majority of it is classified as a Site of Biological Importance, and it will be important to protect this ecological role. This site requires further environmental, access and landscape improvements, including the assimilation of part of the former playing pitch at the Greenwood School. The remainder of the Greenwood School site has planning permission for housing development and care will need to be taken in the design and landscaping of both the housing development and the recreation land to ensure a sensitive and sympathetic boundary between the two.

R 6/5. Former Ferry Hill Tip, north of Ferry Road, Irlam (10.6 ha)

14.27 This is the site of a former domestic refuse tip, which has received additional waste material from a housing development site at Fairhills Road. A restoration scheme includes improved drainage, landscaping, footpaths, and access controls. In addition to its value for informal and passive leisure pursuits, it has the capacity to provide additional facilities for more active recreational uses.

R 6/6. Land off Sandy Lane, Irlam (1.1 ha)

14.28 This existing open space is located within a densely developed residential area, and is currently used largely for amenity and as a kick about. The site will be improved by additional landscaping, provision of footpaths, access controls, and play facilities. Particular care should be made in the design of the facility to ensure that the amenity of neighbouring residents is not unduly affected, and to attract use by younger children and parents in order to encourage supervision.

R 6/7. River Irwell Old Course, Irlam/Cadishead (6.1 ha)

14.29 The Old River Course is a site of local interest, and Site of Biological Importance. It is well used by local anglers, but is silting up at the western end. A landscaped buffer zone needs to be established and maintained between the southern bank of the Old River Course and the proposed housing development at Fairhills Road.

R 6/8. Land at Kersal High School, Kersal (4.0 ha)

14.30 This steeply sloping woodland site currently suffers from neglect, but offers potential to create an attractive link between the Singleton Brook and Castle Hill. It has been identified as a Site of Biological Importance. If the Kersal High School site were to come forward for development, then this would be conditional on the provision of woodland improvements, footpath access and additional security measures for site R 6/8.

R 6/9. Land to south and west of former Peel Hall Hospital, Little Hulton (5.0 ha)

14.31 This site comprises mature woodland and open land, which is to be retained and improved as an area of public open space in association with adjoining housing development.

R 6/10. Former Stowell Memorial Playing Fields, Ordsall (0.6 ha)

14.32 This former school playing field has been identified as an important site for improving the image and environment of the area, and offers potential as a valuable play facility for local young people.

R 6/11. Former Robin Hood Sidings and Adjacent Land, Pendlebury (17.2 ha)

14.33 This site forms part of the Lower Irwell Valley Integrated Action (LIVIA), which aims to improve the economic, environmental and recreational potential of the Clifton Green area. The site is an important open space link between Clifton Country Park and the Slack Brook area. Some footpath works have already taken place, but there is a need to tackle some of the land remediation issues, after which the site has potential for a range of informal recreation activities. The flat, grassed area adjacent to housing has the potential for community play improvements.

R 6/12. Land at Duchy Road, Irwell Riverside (14.3 ha)

14.34 The site is a former industrial site that straddles the Manchester-Bolton railway line. It is currently vacant and overgrown, presenting a neglected image. It is proposed to undertake landscape improvements through woodland management, and to provide access for informal leisure use.

R 6/13. Land at rear of Coniston Road, Valley Estate, Swinton South (1.0 ha)

14.35 This land has been identified by residents on the Valley Estate as an important community and recreation focus. Activity on the site is likely to include improvements to the community centre, a community garden, improved access, a junior football pitch, and security enhancements.

R 6/14. Ellenbrook Brickworks, Walkden South (7.7 ha)

14.36 This former brickworks is largely derelict and has recolonised as a woodland. It forms part of a Site of Biological Importance. Access to the area is established by the former mineral railway line, which is a Strategic Recreation Route for walkers and cyclists. The area has great potential as an important community woodland, but requires substantial work to create a network of safe routes and leisure activities.

R 6/15. Land at Bedford Fields, Walkden South  (4.0 ha)

14.37 This site is currently used for informal leisure, but would benefit from a more diverse landscape and some additional informal recreation facilities, linked to the strategic loopline at the southern end of the site.

R 6/16. Alder Forest, Winton (9.0 ha)

14.38 This is a locally valued area of open space with historical interest, and a diverse range of formal sporting and informal leisure activity. There is a wide range of improvements and management required to make it safe and accessible, including for children’s play and to improve its landscape and wildlife value. Such improvements will need to have regard to the marsh in the south-west of the site, which is classified as a Site of Biological Importance.

R 6/17. Cleavley Nursery, Winton (3.4 ha)

14.39 This site comprises a derelict horticultural nursery and a former tree nursery, both of which are owned by the city council. The land is located adjacent to the Cleavley Athletics Track, lying within the corridor of the Worsley Brook, and acts as a landscape buffer to the motorway.

14.40 Improvements to the former glasshouse site would increase the potential of the Cleavley Athletics site to deliver a wider range of leisure and/or community activities. The former tree nursery is an important link in the chain of open land uses along the Worsley Brook, with the potential for improved public access and amenity use.

R 6/18. Brookhouse Community Woodland, Winton (22.1 ha)

14.41 This site of a former refuse tip, lying between the main Liverpool-Manchester railway and the M62 motorway, has seen some enhancements as part of a community woodland proposal. Further environmental and public access improvements are required.

R 6/19. Land Adjacent to Bridgewater Canal, Boothstown & Ellenbrook (20.5 ha)

14.42 This large area of land provides an important landscape setting for the Bridgewater Canal, and a key amenity for the residents of Boothstown. Some improvements to the site have already been carried out, but a substantial area of land at the western end remains unimproved. This land will be subject to further landscape and wildlife enhancements, and will provide public access for a range of informal leisure activities.

R 6/20. Land to North of Simpson Grove, Boothstown & Ellenbrook (1.6 ha)

14.43 This site is the only large area of open space to the north of Leigh Road in Boothstown, and as such needs to be protected and improved. In order to improve the site, and achieve its recreational potential, additional drainage and screen planting will be required.

Policy R 7

Recreational Use Of Waterways

The recreation and leisure potential of the city’s waterways will be developed during the plan period. Development proposals that make provision for the recreational and leisure use of the waterways will be permitted where they would:

  1. maintain high levels of personal safety and security;
  2. not have an unacceptable impact on any commercial use of the waterway; and
  3. where appropriate, maximise public accessibility to the waterway and the associated recreation and leisure opportunities.

Reasoned justification

14.44 The city benefits from the presence of several important waterways, including the River Irwell, Manchester Ship Canal, and Bridgewater Canal. There are also proposals for the restoration of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal, which are supported by Policy CH 7 'Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal' of the UDP.

14.45 These waterways hold significant potential for water-based leisure and recreation use, which in turn would support wider regeneration, tourism and employment initiatives. However, leisure and recreation developments need to have regard to and be compatible with any commercial operations associated with the waterways concerned, if the potential for increased water-based freight handling is to be realised in accordance with Policy A13 'Freight Transport', particularly in the case of the Manchester Ship Canal. Such developments will also need to ensure public safety and security. Some of the waterways are also of ecological, heritage and visual importance, and developments will therefore need to satisfy the requirements of other relevant UDP policies. For example, the Bridgewater Canal forms the basis of a proposed World Heritage Site, and parts of both this canal and the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal are designated as Sites of Biological Importance. Canals are also identified as a priority habitat for Salford in the Greater Manchester Biodiversity Action Plan. Policy DES 6 'Waterside Development' specifically seeks to secure walkways, and where appropriate cycleways, alongside the city’s waterways, further supporting their recreational use.