Facilities Planning Model

The Facilities Planning Model (FPM) is a computer model developed and used on license from Edinburgh University, which helps to assess the strategic provision of community sports facilities

It covers the major community sports facilities of sports halls, swimming pools and artificial grass pitches. It has in the past been used for indoor bowls centres.

The model has been developed as a means of:

  • Assessing requirements for different types of community sports facilities on a local, regional or national scale
  • Helping local authorities determine an adequate level of sports facility provision to meet their local needs
  • Testing ‘what if’ scenario’s in provision and changes in demand, this includes testing the impact of opening, relocating and closing facilities and the impact population changes would have on the needs of the sports facilities. 

In its simplest form the model seeks to assess whether the capacity of existing facilities for a particular sport are capable of meeting local demand for that sport taking into account how far people are prepared to travel to a facility. In order to estimate the level of sports facility provision in an area, the model compares the number of facilities (supply), by the demand for that facility (demand) that the local population will produce.

The model can be used to test scenarios and can also model the impact of changes in population

The level of participation is estimated using national participation rates and applying them to the number of people who live in the local area. 

The model can be used to test scenarios, by suggesting what impact a new facility would have, or the closure of a facility, to the overall level of facility provision. It can also take account and model the impact of changes in population, for example, from major housing development.

If you would like to find out more about FPM, please contact your local Sport England planning team.

How does the model work?

In its simplest form, the model is a supply/demand analysis. It estimates how much demand for a facility there is within an area, calculates how much supply of that facility there is within that area, and then puts these two elements together to show how much demand is met, not met, and how much supply is used and not used, taking into account how far people are prepared to travel to a facility.

This supply/demand analysis is very similar to other spatial planning models, such as retail modeling.

In its simplest form, the model is a supply/demand analysis

To break this down further, demand is people wanting to use a facility, such as wanting to go swimming, and supply is the amount of swimming pools. The only way you can compare swimming visits with water space, is by using the same type of unit. How the model does this is by converting swims (demand) and waterspace (supply) into Visits per Week in the Peak Period (VpWPP). The model works on the times when most people want to participate; this is called the Peak Period.

The model uses census information at output area level to help establish the profile of the population, including, age, gender, access cars, IMD scores. These are all used in the model to estimate the potential and nature demand for sports facilities.

The model uses the information on the road network (Integrated Transport Network) to estimate how people are prepared to travel. This spatial interaction between demand and supply is essential in helping to understand whether the current supply of sports facilities are in the right place to meet the potential demand within your local area.

Prescriptive not predictive

An important feature of the Model is that it is prescriptive and not predictive in that it does not provide precise estimates of the use of proposed facilities. Rather it prescribes an appropriate level of provision for any defined area in relation to demand and which reflects national expectations and policies.

Because the demand parameters are based on achieved levels of participation we believe this level of provision represents good practice rather than some unattainable ideal.

In other words the levels of use/demand/throughput visits are what could be produced based on what has been observed has happened at existing facilities.

However, the Model does not predict actual usage of facilities: this is determined by range of factors, not least management and promotional policies, programming and the quality or attractiveness of the facility concerned. Nonetheless, the FPM will generate broad estimates of potential throughput which may be useful when considering policy options.