Alnwick is the centre for a wide range of sporting and recreation facilities which serve the town and the wider area. Many of these sports have club facilities based to the south of the Alnwick. These include Alnwick Rugby Football Club, Alnwick Cricket Club, Alnwick Castle Golf Club and Alnwick Town Football Club.
The major provider of indoor sports in the area is the Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre, which was built in 2003 and is run by North Country Leisure. This is a quality venue with high levels of user satisfaction.
Whilst there is a good range of outdoor sports on offer for residents and visitors, many of the town’s existing outdoor sports pitches or courts are of poor quality and some have inadequate changing facilities. Some of these issues could be addressed through the delivery of the Alnwick Sporting Club proposal at Greensfield which is proposed to include improved football pitches, tennis courts and an all-weather multi-sports synthetic pitch primarily for hockey but capable of being used for other sports.
A number of the schools in the town have significant areas of playing fields which are used for school sport and recreation (Duchess’s Community High School, Dukes Middle School, Lindisfarne Middle School, St Paul’s School and to a lesser degree the first schools). Community use of school playing fields could also be a future consideration to improve sports provision (see the education section).
There are seven existing children’s play areas in the town, the most modern of which is at Swansfield Park. Some of the older play areas particularly to the south of Alnwick, consist of only one or two pieces of equipment and need to be replaced or upgraded. Alnwick and Denwick are well below the national and proposed county standards for community open space, in particular parks and gardens, natural & semi-natural green space and amenity green space. As an example, the proposed county standard for parks and gardens is to have at least 2.14 hectares per 1,000 population; in Alnwick and Denwick the figure is only 0.33 hectares per 1,000 population. On the edge of the town is Hulne Park which is open to the public for walking, on many days of the year without charge.
Both Hulne Park and The Pastures make significant contributions to the recreation offer and green infrastructure in Alnwick & Denwick, but are not freely available all the time. The plan could look to create more publicly accessible green space in the area.
There are 11 allotment sites in the plan area, these are provided by the Town Council and Northumberland Estates. Whilst the overall space allocated for allotments is above the county average, there are waiting lists and current turnover of allotments is low. Some allotments are badly maintained and of poor quality. We want to hear your views about the future need for allotments.
Evidence Base available to draw on
- Northumberland Annual Monitoring Report
- North Northumberland Pitches strategy 2005
- Alnwick District and Berwick-upon-Tweed Borough Council - Open Space, Sport and Recreational Facilities Study (2006)
Key issues – Emerging already
- One of the key challenges is to address the shortfalls in provision of quality open space, outdoor sport and recreation facilities
- There is under provision of activities for young children and teenagers.
- Many existing play area sites also fall below the quality standards.
- There is a slight quantity deficiency of natural and semi open space.
- We have quality indoor sports facilities
Areas of potential overlap with other topic areas
- Link with Community Facilities
- Link with Transport – cycleways
- Link with Environment
- Link with Education – high school facilities
- Link with Housing – delivery of new open space through development
Factors constraining options
- Space and development constraints