Summary of what the strategy says and what this will mean for the Borough's facilities.

What does the strategy says about outdoor facilities?

The section covering outdoor playing pitches for sport such as football, rugby, cricket, hockey and other field sports, confirms there is relatively good provision in the borough at this time.

It also recommends that, with local partners working together, existing public playing pitches should be protected and improved wherever possible. This is because of the projected future growth in both new homes and people living, working and studying in the borough and the demand this will place on such facilities.


What does the strategy say about indoor facilities?

The section covering built facilities summarises the depth and breadth of indoor provision in the borough at this time. It highlights how sport, leisure and recreation services could be developed in the future, and where new investment may be needed to achieve this.


Does the new strategy require the council to meet it's recommendations?

It is not a statutory requirement to produce a sports facilities strategy so its findings and recommendations are not legally binding on the council or others.

However it does provide a baseline from which the council can work with its own leisure provider, local partners and with new developers to access funding and other resources which can be used to add to and improve local facilities in the future.


What period will the new Sports Facilities Strategy cover?

This will largely depend on how much the borough changes in the coming years in terms of new housing, population and employment. It could potentially stretch over the duration of the new Local Plan, which will be up to fifteen years from the time of its adoption, but it may require a further update before then to refocus on what is needed.


Does this mean existing facilities will be enhanced and new ones built now?

The significant level of new funding required to do everything means this won't happen now.

But based on the evidence set out in this new strategy, we can expect new resources to become available from organisations such as Sport England and other national governing bodies, and from new developers wishing to build in the borough, which can be used to build new facilities and support and improve existing ones over time.

It will also support community groups and clubs to put their own funding applications forward.


Who decides what happens next and when?

The council will seek to coordinate and prioritise how new and existing resources can be put to the most effective use. To do this it will need to work and consult with local sports providers, local sports clubs and associations, new developers and the various national governing bodies for sport, to achieve the best outcomes in the future.

The scale of what needs to be done can only be achieved by local partners working together. A Sports Strategy Action Plan Steering Group will be set up to monitor and review progress.


Does this mean the Borough will get a new swimming pool?

One of the key long term recommendations set out by the strategy is for the council and its partners to consider how to provide better swimming pool facilities in the future.

The council will work with its partners to undertake further studies to see how this might be achieved.


What does the strategy say about the dry ski slope?

The dry ski slope no longer attracts the regular level of use it once did and the costs of running it outweighs its income. The strategy acknowledges that the site is underā€used and in need of investment, recommending its future is considered when developing a masterplan for the Gosling Sports Park site.


What does it mean for the future of our running track and velodrome?

The strategy sets out a number of challenges with the track and velodrome operating as they are at Gosling Sports Park, including:

  • Scheduling clashes with the cycling and athletics clubs
  • Capacity problems of a six lane track positioned inside a bowl
  • Ageing issues compared to new, better quality facilities elsewhere in the region

In response, there is a recommendation to consider redeveloping the velodrome, potentially relocating athletics to a new track at the Oakland's College St Albans Campus, located just over the borough boundary.

The feasibility of this recommendation will be explored as part of a masterplan for the Gosling Sports Park.


What will happen to our leisure centres?

There is a recommendation to consider delivering a replacement leisure centre in Hatfield, bringing Hatfield Leisure and Swim Centres together on one site. The strategy also notes the important role of Birchwood Leisure Centre (operated by Hatfield Town Council) in exploring any new provision and the need to upgrade its facilities.


Will the driving range at Gosling close?

The strategy recommends potentially relocating the driving range to Panshanger Golf Centre to bring the town's golf facilities together.


What is the plan for Gosling Sports Park?

The council and GLL, who own and operate the site, will work on developing a masterplan for Gosling. The sports strategy will be used as a basis for setting out how the site can best meet the needs of residents in the future.