Agenda item

Leisure Strategy

The covering report and an extract from the strategy, detailing a number of recommendations, have been included in the main agenda.  The full report, including all of the appendices, has been published in a separate supplementary pack.


This report is due to be pre-scrutinised at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee scheduled to take place on Thursday 20th October 2022.  Any recommendations arising from this meeting will be reported in a supplementary pack for the Executive Committee’s consideration.




The Head of Planning, Regeneration and Leisure Services presented the Leisure and Cultural Strategy for the Executive Committee’s consideration.


The Executive Committee was advised that external consultants had been commissioned to work on the Leisure Strategy.   The Leisure Strategy was designed to provide strategic direction for the Council’s approach to delivering and supporting leisure and cultural activities and services in the Borough up to 2032.  The strategy comprised a number of different parts, including the main Leisure and Cultural Strategy and two other strategies which underpinned this document, including the Arts and Culture Strategy and the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy.  Two further leisure strategies were due to be presented for the consideration of the Executive Committee in 2023 on the subjects of built facilities strategy and playing pitches strategy.


In developing the Leisure Strategy, Officers and the consultants had identified a number of actions that could be taken within budget to enhance leisure and cultural service provision in the Borough.  These actions were the subject of recommendations detailed in a table within the Leisure Strategy.  Any actions that would require additional financial expenditure would need to be outlined in business cases and presented for Members’ consideration.


The vision of the Leisure and Cultural Strategy was to ensure that communities were physically active and connected to leisure and cultural spaces in the Borough.  There was the potential for participation in Leisure and Cultural activities to have a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.


During consideration of this item, Members noted that at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 20th October 2022, Members had pre-scrutinised this report.  At the end of the debate, Members had proposed the following recommendation on the Leisure Strategy:


O&S to advise the executive on Social Prescribing as there is no mention in the strategy of the Council working with the NHS, CCG and Rubicon. Other Councils (e.g. Cannock Chase) have such arrangements where patients who have recently been discharged from hospital with e.g. Stroke/ Heart Conditions can greatly benefit from gentle exercise.  I think this strategy has missed an opportunity and I ask executive to consider including such a strategy. The benefits are many to individuals and the costs are low to the NHS.” 


The Executive Committee considered this recommendation and in doing so noted that there would be some benefit to making reference to social prescribing in the Leisure Strategy.  However, Members concurred that the recommendation from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in its current wording would be difficult to implement.  With that in mind, the Executive Committee agreed that an amendment should instead be made to the end of paragraph 1.7 of the Leisure Strategy, as detailed below:


The priority of Improved Health and Wellbeing is key to this Leisure and Culture Strategy. The addendum to the Council Plan 2019-2024 states that Redditch Borough Council will work with communities to help them identify and develop their strengths. We will look at ways to encourage physical movement into people’s everyday routines. We will prioritise aligning leisure and culture services with the emerging Integrated Care System (ICS) in order to best achieve this including the role that social prescribing can play to support health and wellbeing.”


Members subsequently discussed the recommendations detailed in the table within the Leisure and Culture Strategy in detail.  Questions were raised about the seventh recommendation, which referred to the planning development process and Members queried how the Leisure Strategy could shape the planning process.  The Executive Committee was advised that, in relation to planning and heritage matters, there were limits to the amount of influence that the Leisure Strategy could have on the planning development process.  The Council’s Local Plan also had implications in this context and Members could influence the content of the Local Plan, including through attendance at meetings of the Planning Advisory Panel.


Reference was made to plans to develop a partnership with the National Trust, working on the 8 Hills Project and Members questioned what this would entail.  Officers explained that the National Trust had received funding from the Government to create a regional park in eight relatively local hills, including the Clent Hills and Lickey Hills.  Research suggested that residents in the region, including in Redditch, would be more likely to visit these hills should the area be designated as a regional park and this could have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.


Consideration was also given to progress that was being achieved by the Council in working towards green flag status for parks in the Borough.  The Executive Committee advised that work was being undertaken to enable four parks in the Borough to achieve green flag status over the following five year period.  The first park that the Council would aim to help to achieve green flag status would be Morton Stanley Park, which had been subject to a number of changes in recent years, including the introduction of a new café in the park.  A submission would be made in the green flag process in January 2023 and it was likely that the outcome of this submission would be confirmed in September 2023.


Members also noted that the sixteenth recommendation referred to a feasibility study being undertaken in respect of the allotments and Officers were asked to confirm when this would take place and whether allotment holders would be consulted as part of the process.  Officers advised that at a corporate level there was already work ongoing to review the allotments, taking into account the approach in place at other local authorities.  Consideration would subsequently be given to a pilot project.




1)          subject to amending paragraph 1.7 to add the line “including the role that social prescribing can play to support health and wellbeing”, the Leisure and Culture Strategy and its supporting documentation, the Arts and Culture Strategy and the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy, are endorsed; and


2)          that delegated authority is given to the Head of Planning, Regeneration and Leisure Services, following consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Leisure services, to implement the following Recommendations 1, 2,8,9,10,11,12 13,15,16,17,20,22,24,25, 40,41, 42,43,44,45,46 and 47 as set out in the Leisure and Culture Strategy.



Supporting documents: