PlayZones consultation

Status OPEN
Start date Mon 11 Mar 2024, 12:00pm
End date Tue 7 May 2024, 11:59pm

PlayZone consultation

The London Borough of Bexley are exploring the possibility of bidding for funding through the Football Foundation PlayZone programme to refurbish existing Multi-Use Games areas (MUGAs) in parks and council estates across the borough.

This is an exciting project looking at renovating old MUGAs into PlayZone facilities or creating brand new PlayZones. The Football Foundation aims to deliver 330 PlayZones nationally by 2025 by investing in communities with the greatest need, phased in over the next three years.

If successful, the Bexley PlayZones will provide access for all residents to a variety of new activities that the local community wanted.

PlayZones will be accessible to all communities. They will play an important role in helping to tackle inequalities in physical activity and will also help create opportunities for those from ethnically diverse communities, people from lower socio-economic groups, women and girls, and those with underlying health conditions to access and connect to sports and activities they enjoy.

What is a PlayZone?

A PlayZone aims to deliver a safe, inclusive, and welcoming space for all. It is an outdoor space that is usually the size of one or two tennis courts or a five-a-side kick around area, which can be used for a range of sports and activities such as basketball, cricket, football, netball, and tennis.

PlayZones are:

  • floodlit to enable year-round use for you and your community
  • delivered with high-quality surfacing such as 3G, polymeric; the surface type will depend on the activities chosen
  • can have three types of use: free to use, session-led and programmable by your community
  • provided with associated line markings and equipment for the activities chosen
  • subject to regular maintenance to retain the quality of the playing surface
  • provided with accessible information on how to use the PlayZone site
  • designed and operated based on feedback from you and your community

PlayZones come in all shapes and sizes and are developed in line with their future use, here is an example:

A group of people playing football

Where are the proposed Bexley PlayZone sites?

There are 3 potential PlayZone sites:

Have your say

Community engagement and consultation are essential as we progress with the PlayZones funding bid. This funding is not guaranteed; it is currently only an application. We need to show that you and your community want the site to be upgraded, to be granted the funding to do so.

We are keen to gather your views on the development of the PlayZones and future usage by you and your communities. We ask you to fill in our feedback survey and provide as much detail as possible to help us know what else needs to be included in the project to make it work for you and your community.

How to share your feedback

Fill in the feedback survey. This should take no more than 10 minutes to do. This is the formal way to give your feedback to a set of questions that the team working on this project will use to make decisions on next steps.

You can also visit us at one of our drop-in events to give your feedback in person or discuss any questions or queries that you may have on the proposed PlayZone areas. These events will be listed in the 'Upcoming events’ section where we will be consulting on PlayZones.

All feedback will be collated and used to inform a full funding application to the Football Foundation later this year.

Complete the feedback survey

Upcoming events where we will be consulting on PlayZones

Contact the project team

PlayZones Funding Bid Timeline

Submitting an 'Expression of Interest' to the Football Foundation

After putting together a project team to work on the PlayZones funding bid, we have submitted an Expression of Interest to the Football Foundation which provided details on our readiness to deliver, and an overview of the priority groups and places we have identified where these facilities would have the greatest impact.

Engaging with the local community

In February and March we will be inviting you (residents and local communities) to give your thoughts on the proposed new PlayZone sites. As well as the online survey available on this webpage we will be attending or holding engagements events at each site to offer taster sessions, provide information, provide paper copies of the survey and answer any questions.

Community Engagement sits at the heart of the programme and is critical to the successful delivery of PlayZones. It’s about talking, listening, and working with you to understand your needs and build trust, involving you in the development of the project, instilling ownership, inclusivity and pride.

These new PlayZone facilities will be designed around the unique needs of you and your community.

Analysing the engagement responses

The project team will evaluate the engagement responses and use this information to starting writing the final funding bid submission to the Football Foundation.

Final funding application submission

The final outcomes of the consultation will go into the funding bid submitted to the Football Foundation, we are expecting to do this by the end of May.

Football Foundation funding application outcome

The Football Foundation will provide an outcome to our funding bid, hopefully in October.

Frequently asked questions

How to use a PlayZone site

Will the PlayZones be gated? How can I get in?

We are investigating different management methods on how access to PlayZones might be delivered. That method will be directed by community feedback. There will be a requirement to provide free community time, time for programmed activities and potentially at some sites, some private bookable timeslots.

Will I have to pay to use a PlayZone? If so, how much?

This will depend on how the community would like each PlayZone to be used, managed and maintained. Private hire of a PlayZone might be charged, for example, a local sports club hiring the site for a training session for their club. We will also work with sporting and community partners to provide FREE community sports and activity sessions. There will also be allocated FREE community-use time that will be programmed in, so that everyone can access a PlayZone.

What are the proposed operating hours?

We hope that PlayZones will be open for use year-round. Hours and programming will be shaped by the community consultation and application process.

Building the PlayZone sites

Do PlayZone sites require planning permission?

Yes, if the new PlayZone site requires major changes to the layout or structure, or does not already have floodlights.

What is the benefit of a PlayZone over other upgrade opportunities?

The benefits are:

  • PlayZones are community focused
  • The Football Foundation is offering up to 75% funding for the cost
  • Funding is solely for small community facilities (approximately 30m x 20m), which is unprecedented

Have other councils successfully taken part in the PlayZone programme? Are there examples?

It is a very new programme. There are some pilot projects, including Sandwell in Birmingham.

How will the floodlights be managed?

To qualify for PlayZone funding sites must be available for use all year round. This requires the use of floodlights for controlled hours, to ensure optimum visibility for participants and a safer playing experience when in use during the darker months. We will be working with engineers and our planning department to design a scheme that will mitigate the impact of new lighting on areas outside the PlayZone space.

More about PlayZones and the funding behind them

Where will the funding come from for the PlayZone sites?

Most funding will come from the Football Foundation, who will provide up to 75% of the build costs. The programme requires partnership funding for the remaining 25+%. This can come from various available sources, such as external funding grants, and funding linked to past planning approvals. It will not come from council tax, service charges, or council rent. PlayZone sites will have maintenance plans to ensure that the standard of the playing area is retained.

Will Bexley Council make money from PlayZones?

This is not the aim of the PlayZones programme. It is anticipated that there will need to be some chargeable sessions in order to cover maintenance costs, running costs, and eventual resurfacing of the PlayZone area to ensure high-quality sports facilities.

What happens if a site is unsuccessful at gaining PlayZone funding?

If residents want improvements made to the site, then council officers will consider other potential sources of funding that could be used to rejuvenate the space. However, this is not guaranteed to happen.

Will PlayZones have some ownership over the site if their funding is used on it?

No. However, the Football Foundation requires that a site benefiting from their funding remains functional as a PlayZone for at least 10 years after its upgrade.