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Facilities Planning Model

About the Facilities Planning Model

Developed and used on licence from Edinburgh University, the Facilities Planning Model (FPM) is a computer model that helps you assess the strategic provision of community sports facilities.

In its simplest form, the FPM looks to assess whether the capacity of existing facilities are capable of meeting local demand for a particular sport. It covers sports halls, swimming pools and artificial grass pitches, and has also been used for indoor bowls centres.

The model has been developed to help users:

  • Assess the requirements for different types of community sports facilities on a local, regional or national scale
  • Help local authorities determine an adequate level of sports facility provision to meet their local needs
  • Test ‘what if’ scenarios in provision and changes in demand, including testing the impact of opening, relocating and closing facilities and the impact major population changes would have on the needs of the sports facilities.

If you'd like to use or find out more about the FPM, please contact your local Sport England planning team.

Central Bedfordshire and the Facilities Planning Model case study

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Frequently asked questions

  • How does it work?

    The FPM shares many of the same attributes as other spatial planning models, such as retail modelling.

    In order to estimate the level of sports facility provision in an area, the FPM compares the number of facilities (supply), by the demand for that facility that the local population will produce.

    The FPM then puts these two elements together to show how much demand is met and not met, and how much supply is used and not used, while also considering how far people are prepared to travel to a facility.

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  • What data does it use?

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

    The FPM also uses the information on the road network (Ordnance Survey MasterMap Highways Network) to estimate how people are prepared to travel. This is essential in helping to understand whether the current supply of sports facilities are in the right place to meet the potential demand.

    An important feature of the Model is that it’s prescriptive and not predictive in that it does not provide precise estimates of the use of proposed facilities. Instead, it prescribes an appropriate level of provision for any defined area in relation to demand – this reflects national expectations and policies. The actual usage of a facility will be determined by a range of factors including management and promotional policies, programming and the quality or attractiveness of the facility concerned.

    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. This is because the levels of use/demand/throughput visits are what could be produced based on what has been observed at existing facilities. This makes the broad estimates of potential throughput generated by the FPM potentially useful when considering policy options.

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  • How is the FPM delivered?

    We recognise the FPM national and local run reports can form an important part of helping develop an evidence base for sport and physical activity for local authorities - feeding into their assessments of needs and resulting facility strategies.

    They also support the approach as set out in our Strategic Outcomes Planning Guidance and assessing needs guidance.

    While the demand for FPM reports from local partners continues to grow, it's proved increasingly difficult to meet this with our limited resources.

    For this reason, professional services firm ORH has been appointed to help us deliver the national and local FPM reports, to local partners.

    If your authority's looking to access the national FPM-run reports, please be aware there may be a charge if the work can't be resourced by us.

    Where this is the case, authorities will be able to access the national FPM-run reports on a chargeable basis through ORH, at £750+VAT per facility type - please note, local bespoke FPM reports remain a chargeable service provided through ORH.

    We recommend local authority partners contact their local Sport England facilities and planning team to discuss any FPM requirements they may have.

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  • How can I contact you?

    We advise on the development of planning policy and the planning process where it:

    • Affects sport and active recreation
    • Contributes to the development of policy guidance
    • Advises local planning authorities on matters affecting sport and active recreation in development plans, and where related documents advise on the development of assessments of need and strategies for sporting provision
    • Advises local planning authorities on consultations on planning applications affecting sport and active recreation
    • Advises sports bodies on planning issues.

    Planning consultations and any correspondence relating to a consultation should be sent direct to our Planning Administration Team using one of the following email addresses:


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