We are therefore keen to encourage the opening up of sports facilities to the wider community, when they are not required by the main user.
Many educational sites, including schools of all kinds, academies and sports colleges, have very good sports facilities which are often underused out of normal school hours.
When an educational establishment decides that its sports facilities will be available for community use, it is valuable to agree in a Community Use Agreement (CUA) how it is intended to operate. This should cover such matters as hours of availability, management arrangements, pricing policy etc. The use of a CUA should help secure well-managed and safe community access to sports facilities on educational sites.
Drawing up agreements
We have therefore developed a template for a Community Use Agreement which provides a clear basis for drawing up agreements for individual schools, colleges and academies.
This CUA, which has been developed in conjunction with Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, draws upon extensive knowledge of recent practice in drawing up, implementing and managing CUAs. It is intended to provide the basis for the development of agreements for a range of different educational establishments. It may be appropriate to amend this standard template as necessary to refer to appropriate local partners, to reflect local priorities, targets and circumstances. If the template is used, the CUA will need to be developed in consultation with the parties to the agreement before being finalised
In undertaking its planning application consultee role there may be instances when we will require a CUA to be submitted, approved and implemented to overcome its potential objection to an application. These instances may include where securing and/or enhancing community use is proposed, as one of the measures to provide adequate replacement provision and/or mitigation where existing playing field land or other sports facilities may be affected. This mitigation may be required in order for us not to formally object/withdraw our objection to a proposed development.
In these circumstances we would recommend that a CUA is secured through a condition on the planning permission for development. A CUA signed by all the key parties will be essential in such cases. A suggested condition is included within our Model Conditions document.
There will be other instances when we may not require a CUA but suggests that in order to provide certainty and clarity about the intentions concerning community access it would be highly desirable to develop one.