2. Children's Play Space Standards For New Family Housing

New residential development providing family housing1 will be required to provide children’s play space in accordance with the following standard. The detailed requirements associated with both categories of play space are set out in Table 1:

  1. developments comprising 15 family dwellings or more will provide a local area for play (LAP) within a 100m walking distance of every family dwelling; and
  2. developments comprising 50 family dwellings or more will also provide a local equipped area for play (LEAP) within a 400m walking distance of every family dwelling.

More than one LAP and/or LEAP will need to be provided should the maximum walking distance requirements not be achieved.2

TABLE 1: CHILDREN'S PLAY SPACE IN NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT
Local Area for Play (LAP)
Local Equipped Area for Play (LEAP)
Size and Location:
Within 100m walking distance of every family dwelling. 100m2 of play area with a minimum distance of 5 metres between the edge of the play area and ground floor windows of any property.
Within 400m walking distance of every family dwelling. 400m2 of play area with a minimum distance of 10 metres3 between the edge of the play area and the boundary of any residential property.
Target Users:
Toddlers to 6 year olds. Should be accessible by children (and carers) with disabilities such as mobility and sensory problems and suitable for their use.4 to 8 year olds. Should be accessible by children (and carers) with disabilities such as mobility and sensory problems and suitable for their use.
Site:
Reasonably flat, well-drained with grass and/or hard surface.
Reasonably flat, well-drained with grass and/or hard surface.
Contents:
Should be appropriate for low-key games such as tag, hopscotch, French cricket, or play with small toys. Play features should be designed to encourage use within target age group. Should have seating for carers. Where boundary to play area not secure, guard rail of appropriate design (600mm high) around site with offset entry/exit point where adjoining any area used by vehicular traffic. Display of ‘No dogs’ and target user age group sign.At least 5 types of play equipment should be provided. Surfacing and equipment to comply with the relevant British standards. Should have seating for accompanying adults. Where boundary to play area not secure, guard rail of appropriate design (600mm high) around site with offset entry/exit point where adjoining any area used by vehicular traffic. Display of ‘No dogs’ and target user age group sign.
Amenity:
Landscape features to enhance the development including tree planting and low level planting behind guard rail. Gable end or other exposed house walls should be protected from use for ball games by providing strip of dense planting.
Landscape features to enhance the development including tree planting and low level planting behind guard rail.

The siting of play space should evolve as part of the whole development process and should be designed as an integral part of the housing layout. The following factors will need to be considered:-

  1. play space should be located to allow informal supervision from nearby houses or from well used pedestrian routes;
  2. open, welcoming locations should be chosen, not backland sites with accesses along high-fenced narrow alleyways;
  3. children should not need to cross major hazards such as main roads;
  4. sites should be separated from areas of major vehicle movements and accessible directly from pedestrian routes;
  5. where children will need to cross a minor road within the residential development to access a play space, traffic calming measures should be employed, such as a change in the road surface;
  6. slopes too steep for building can provide one type of play experience, but are not suitable for most play equipment;
  7. every effort should be made to avoid locating play space near high voltage electricity cables;
  8. where both a LAP and a LEAP are provided as part of a housing development, there should remain a clear separation between them to allow for the two separate functions; and
  9. to provide maximum separation from nearby residents, sites should be linked, as far as possible, with other open spaces, footpath systems and planting areas.

1Family housing includes any property with two bedrooms or more.
2Unless it can be demonstrated to the contrary, a ‘straight line distance’ of 60 metres and 240 metres will be considered to represent a walking distance of 100 metres and 400 metres respectively and will be applied to new housing development requiring play space(s), to determine the frequency of LAP and/or LEAP provision. The front door to a property will be used to assess its distance from any play space.
3The 10 metres ‘separation zone’ can include roads, footways, communal parking areas, landscaping and other such features.

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