Sports Facility Calculator (SFC)

The SFC is a planning tool which helps to estimate the amount of demand for key community sports facilities among a given population. The SFC covers swimming pools, sports halls, artificial grass pitches (AGPs) and indoor bowls centres. However, this may be extended to others in the future, such as indoor tennis centres.

What can it be used for?

As mentioned above, the SFC will help in quantifying the amount of demand that a given population would create, and what this would mean in term of sports facility provision.

It is designed to be used to estimate the facility needs of discrete populations, such as sports halls and swimming pools created by a new community of a residential (housing) development.

It would be used in situations where, for example, an authority is dealing with a housing development of 500 homes, and is looking to quantify how much money the developer could be asked to contribute towards improving/providing pool space to meet the additional swimming demand which will be generated from the new residents of the housing.

What will it tell me?

The SFC has been created by Sport England to help local planning authorities quantify how much additional demand for swimming pools, sports halls and AGPs is generated by populations of new growth, development and regeneration areas.

The SFC helps with quantifying the demand side of the facility provision equation. It helps to answer questions such as, “How much additional demand for swimming pool provision will the population of a new development area generate, and what would the cost be to meet this new demand at today’s values?” It is designed to be used to estimate the facility needs of discrete populations, such as sports halls and swimming pools created by a new community of a residential development.

It’s important to remember that the SFC looks at demand for facilities and does not take into account any existing supply of facilities.

What won't it tell me?

Whilst the SFC can be used to estimate the swimming and sports hall needs for whole area populations, such as whole local authorities, there are dangers in how these figures are subsequently used at this level in matching it with current supply for strategic gap analysis.

The SFC should not be used for strategic gap analysis; this approach is fundamentally flawed. The SFC has no spatial dimension. The figure that is produced is a total demand figure for the chosen population. It is important to note that the SFC does not take account of:

  • Facility location compared to demand
  • Capacity and availability of facilities – opening hours
  • Cross-boundary movement of demand
  • Travel networks and topography
  • Attractiveness of facilities.

 

For these reasons the total demand figures generated by the SFC should not simply be compared with facilities within the same area.

Where can I find out more?