PLANNING FOR SPORT AND OPEN SPACE
Welcome to NORTOFT
2000-2022: We are celebrating 22 years providing our clients with of successful planning advice.
We support the Sport, Open Space, Recreation and Community facilities changes you need to achieve; whether this is for commercial and housing land development, new community or club facilities, or public planning strategy work.
We are deeply experienced, imaginative, determined, and great partners to have on your side.
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Figure to the left: A new sports hub for an 8,000 home new Garden Village. Working for national housebuilders, and bringing NGBs, Sport England and the Local Authority on board on this challenging site.
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Need to masterplan a major housing development site where sport and open space is involved? Need to develop or protect a playing field? Need a new community hall or clubhouse? Need to secure s106 payments? We can help.
Nortoft was founded in 2000 by Sue O'Neil MRTPI and David O'Neil MRTPI with the key aim of approaching each of our clients with fresh eyes to develop customised and unique strategies.
Nationally recognised as one of the leading specialist sports and open space planning consultancy firms, we have expert, experienced MRTPI professionals that will partner with you to deliver tailor-made practical solutions.
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From planning applications to Appeals, from feasibility studies to detailed masterplanning, we work with:
Housing developments of all sizes on the provision, protection, relocation or development of sports facilities and open spaces.
Local authorities on complex facility changes, policies, s106 negotiations, SPDs
Parish councils on community buildings.
Sports clubs and organisations on facility enhancement and change.
Development in the Green Belt.
Local Plans and Appeals expert witness.
We work for a wide range of clients (see the 'Clients' page).
Figure below: Expansion of playing pitches and buildings for a school in the Green Belt.
Registered Address: Nortoft Partnerships Ltd, Nortoft Cottage, Guilsborough, NN6 8QB.
01604 586 526 Company Registered in England: 3903741
Look through some of our recent projects to see how best we can meet your needs ....
Since Nortoft began in 2000, we’ve provided our services to a variety of businesses. On every project we undertake, our most important objective is to relate with clients and understand their core necessities and goals. Below are some examples of the work we’ve done - take a look, and get in touch to learn more.
ROBUST PLANNING IN THE GREEN BELT
National Equestrian Training Centre and School Sports Facilities in the Green Belt
National Equestrian Training Centre at Caldecote Farm, Hertfordshire (2019)
The successful consent was for a major equestrian training centre in the Hertfordshire Green Belt. Nortoft was able to prove 'Very Special Circumstances' despite strong officer opposition. The call-in to the Secretary of State maintained the Committee decision. There was a robust sports justification for the facilities which would be open to community use. We secured very strong backing from all the National Governing Bodies of Sport.
DEVELOPING NEW SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY SPORTS FACILITIES ON A PLAYING FIELD
Epsom & Ewell High School, Bellway (2019) - see plan above
The development involved the housing development of a former playing pitch in a dense urban area, with significant objection from some local residents. However, we secured very strong support from the National Governing Bodies of Sport, and this helped Sport England accept the loss of the disused playing field. Nortoft helped masterplan the site and provided the sports planing case.
The development will result in a about £1m of re-investment back into new school and community sports facilities. A successful consent achieved.
COMMUNITY CENTRE/SPORTS PAVILION IN THE GREEN BELT
Oxford Green Belt, North Hinksey (2019)
North Hinksey Parish Council now have planning permission for their new facilities including: large community and youth halls, changing rooms, 'Changing Places' facility, improved access and parking, and extensive outdoor adventure youth play facilities including a skate park. This required considerable local consultation and engagement with the community and the users groups. Nortoft led the planning including business plan. The Vale of White Horse District Council passed the application.
MAIN ACCESS TO DEVELOPMENT REQUIRES PLAYING PITCHES MOVED
Sandleford Park, Newbury, 2000 homes - see plan above
Leading the sports facility planning for Bloor Homes on this up to 1,500 house planning application, Nortoft was brought in following a Sport England statutory objection to loss of playing pitches and limited provision of other sports facilities.
Work involved master planning, s106 negotiation, Sport England and NGBs negotiations, and working closely with the wider development team. All the sports related issues were resolved and agreed ahead of the Appeal; currently awaiting an Inspector's decision on wider development matters.
HOUSING ON FORMER PLAYING FIELD
Danescroft Homes, Willingdon
The loss of a former playing field was justified because of a robust assessment of new pitches being developed in the area, and with CIL compliant s106 Contributions mitigating new demand.
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORTS MAJOR RETAIL DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT
Rushden Lakes Retail Destination (2014-2018)
680,000 sqft of retail and leisure development, now largely constructed and open but with new extensions in planning. Sitting in 200 acres of internationally important wildlife reserve, Nortoft planned the green infrastructure including the visitor centre, boathouse and wildlife reserve, and the related site management and funding, so helping secure planning. We also produced the wider economic value appraisals, hotel need analyses, and supported the recent 2019 extension.
PROTECTING OPEN SPACE FROM HOUSING DEVELOPMENT
Rugby Town Successful Appeal (2019)
Nortoft has provided Expert Witness services for many Appeals and EIPs.
As a result of the expiry of a very long lease to Rugby Borough Council (RBC) on land used as a public park, an application for housing development, on the then fenced-off site led to an application which was refused. An Appeal by the developer was lost with the Appellant withdrawing during the Appeal. Open Space matters were the dominant issue, and were defended on behalf of Rugby Borough Council for the Council. Nortoft also very successfully supported the Council against a related JR of the Local Plan on Open Space matters.
SPORTS HUB FOR MAJOR URBAN EXTENSION
Cranbrook, East Devon, 7,750 houses (2022)
Nortoft is leading the sports planning work for Carden Group/Redrow Homes on the Treasbeare 915 dwelling urban extension.
Critical to the provision is the planning for a new Sporting Hub, aimed to serve the whole of the development of 20,000 people. The hub is currently being planned to provide a 3G-AGP, grass football and rugby pitches, tennis, multi-use path and potentially a major cycling centre.
Issue that are being resolved relate to a new assessment of need due to an out-of-date Playing Pitch Strategy, and new input in the Local Plan Main Modifications stage, work with Sport England and the NGBs and s106 negotiation.
MAJOR FUNDING FOR SPORT AND OPEN SPACE FROM S106 DEVELOPERS' CONTRIBUTIONS
We write SPDs to increase Local Authorities' income from s106 and CIL for sport and recreation
We have worked with Local Authorities (including East Hertfordshire, Nuneaton & Bedworth, and others) to create new SPDs to secure developers' contributions from housing developments for sport and recreation facilities and open space. This includes capital and maintenance monies, and typically might bring in about £2,000+ per house for open space and a similar amount again for sport and recreation. Our work has secured several million pounds for the public good and to deliver more attractive developments.
We support Councils on major housing developments at PreApp and Application stages to help secure funds based on their planning policies including SPDs.
All contributions requests need to be CIL compliant. Our approach and advice has been tested successfully though Appeal (and indeed the High Court on one occasion) .
A satisfied Director of Public Service from Nuneaton & Bedworth Council wrote:
"I just wanted to drop you a line ... thank you for the work initially undertaken in the S.106. I have appreciated your patience and input ...
I was involved with an appeal from one site in Nuneaton (in 2020) and challenges to our Local Plan and also S.106 requests. The Inspector requested all my information and data re my request and strategies as to how this was worked up. After them going over this, they detailed to the appellant that it was accurate, CIL compliant and stood his tests and required paying! "
Can we help your authority secure ££s from developments for community facilities?
Credible experts supporting your needs
SUE O'NEIL BSC(HONS), MRTPI
Sue is a highly experienced sports planner, and MRTPI with extensive track record in sports strategy development – many successfully tested at EIPs, Appeal and s106 negotiations.
Sue has strong active contacts across the sports sector at national and local levels, and liaises regularly with Sport England at national and regional level on many technical sports planning matters.
When not working, Sue will be off-road cycling, running, swimming or horse riding, as well as being Chair of the Village Hall.
DAVID O'NEIL BSC(HONS), MRTPI,
David has over 30 years of experience with a good success rate in planning and development including: major sports schemes; large scale housing developments; and other commercial land, working for the private and public sectors.
He has won national recognition for his sports planning and Appeal work.
When not working, David will be mountaineering, cycling, Vice-Chairing the parish council, or on stage being dramatic.