Northstowe Phase 1 Sports Pavilion

An artists impression of the Northstowe Phase 1 sports pavilion.

Planning Application

The Phase 1 Sports Pavilion planning application is now live on our planning portal.

Planning Reference: 21/03350/REM

The deadline for comments is 25 August 2021. 

Your views

Plans for the first sports pavilion to serve residents in Northstowe were created and we asked for comments between 11 and 25 January. Replies are at the bottom of this page.

The sports pavilion will have a main hall where activities can be hosted with changing facilities for the outdoor sports pitches nearby.

The technical detail of the building is below. Architects drawings are also on this webpage to help you to envisage how the building would look, feel and work.

Throughout the design process we recognised the requirement for a high-quality building that recognises the requirement for energy efficiency / generation, ease of maintenance and a sustainable approach. We need to balance these requirements against the amount of funding that is available.

The anticipated cost of the proposed building is more than the money provided by developers, required by the agreement with the Council. This is known as a section 106 agreement. Whilst we want to make the building work well for the community, we also need to ensure it can be delivered and is affordable. 

Please email if you have any queries.


The site for the new pavilion is to be accessed from Peppercorn Drive via an ancillary road routed through a new car park and will be situated adjacent to the naturalistic setting of Kingfisher Pond and the surrounding green space.

Bearing this setting in mind the general principle for the design of the building has been to maintain the naturalistic setting using high quality materials such as timber style cladding that respects the setting it is in. Key views across the site have been maintained and new tree and hedge planting will soften the building outline.

 an architects drawing showing the location of the Northstowe Phase 1 sports pavilion.

Accessing the site and parking

Pedestrian and bicycle access has been predominant in the access design thinking which means provision has been made for a central hub for cyclists with secure parking and routes out into the surrounding areas. In addition a public footpath will provide access through the site out to the sporting and leisure spaces and also a safe route from the nearby schools.

An architects site plan showing the location of the sports pavilion in Northstowe Phase 1, between kingfisher pond and the allotments.

Inside the building

The building itself has been designed to meet Sport England standards and will be fully accessible to users of all ages and abilities. In brief the single storey building provides the following:

• 6 Adult sized changing rooms with showers
• 3 Officials' changing rooms with showers
• Toilet Facilities
• Store rooms
• Kitchen
• Reception/office space
• Clubroom (sized to allow for a badminton court)

It is envisaged that the building’s design and facilities will enable multiple sports use including those that require a modest indoor space. The clubroom will provide an open well lit space with a large glazed elevation.

An architects drawing showing the internal layout of the rooms in the Northstowe Phase 1 Sports Pavilion. showing 6 changing rooms, a 'changing places' toilet, kitchen, office and club room.

Outside the building

As well as there being grassed areas and planting beds adjacent to the building there will be a paved area adjacent to the clubroom that will be suitable for outdoor social events associated with the various sports clubs that will use the pavilion.

 an architects drawing of the outside of the Northstowe phase 1 sports pavilion. it is an unremarkable single story structure.

Public questions

Following the call for questions that occurred as part of the Northstowe Community Forum the following questions were received: 

(Where multiple similar questions have been received they have been edited into a single question.) 

The plans for the sport pavilion don't include a lot of space for indoor sports or a social club related to the sports clubs. There's one small hall "for badminton" but nothing else. Where is it envisioned these events will take place? The secondary school or other sports grounds in Northstowe? 

The Phase 1 sports pavilion forms part of the ancillary facilities needed to support the outdoor sports pitches at the Western Park. In addition to changing rooms etc it is designed to function as a club room, to allow for the associated social activity. We anticipate this space will be in demand for wider community social activity, such as bookings for private functions and for group activities. Its ability to provide additional space for indoor sports, although not a primary function of the building, will be significant in terms of its capacity to generate income and therefore contribute to the long-term sustainability of the building.
There is substantial indoor sports provision at Northstowe Secondary College, forming part of the facilities designed to be shared between the school and the wider community within the Education Campus. For indoor sports this includes a 4-court sports hall, two dance studios and gym, with provision set to expand as further phases of the development come forward. This is in addition to the indoor space at the Pathfinder school made available for hire and at the Community Wing (and ultimately the Phase 1 community building, which will also be able to provide access to further space for some indoor sport and recreation).

It was originally also suggested toilets would be accessible from outdoors and therefore may be used by those on the allotments- is this still the case?

Direct external access to the toilets has been considered but is seen as something that would compromise the overall security of the building. We are considering possibilities for granting toilet access for allotment users.

Many allotment holders feel that is holly unacceptable that there is still no vehicular access to the allotment parking areas. The allotments planning design includes vehicular access through the Sport Pavilion side.
This would be the second growing season where allotmenteers will not have the ability to bring on site large quantities of soil improver, compost, wood chippings and manure, which are required to improve the quality of the clay soil and try to improve drainage. In its current state, it is very difficult to work the soil in a productive manner.
My questions:
• When will the Sports Pavilion works start?
• When will they be completed?
• When will we be able to access the allotment site through the route that was planned in the design?
• Can we have a temporary access road for vehicles provided until the works commence on the Sports Pavilion?
This issue was raised in a previous forum and an answer was given in relation to the pedestrian access through the old golf course entrance. To make it clear, I’m referring here to the access for cars through the Sports Pavilion side, and not the pedestrian access through the Orchard side.

I have been reviewing the information on your website for 'Northstowe Phase 1 Sports Pavilion’ - I can see no mention of access to the Northstowe allotments by car. The access route by car to Northstowe Allotments is currently off of High St / Station Road - as I understand it this route is to be closed off and instead, vehicle access into the allotment is from the ‘Sports Pavilion’ area.    

As a planning application has not been submitted it is not possible to give definite dates but a sensible time line would be a start on site this summer with completion next. General access will not be possible through the pavilion site during the construction works. Subject to discussions with the contractor ( to be tendered) it may be possible to arrange for bulk deliveries to be made via the site at certain times and by prior arrangement

Is there a plan to have a bar inside the club room?

The area noted on the plan as the servery could be used as a bar area also as it will have the option to be open to the club room

It’s not clear from the plan are those changing rooms individual or group ones? Are there plans for any other sports centres across the development? This seems to be a big car park and some changing rooms?

The changing rooms are sized to fit a 'team' and have en suite showers & toilets

For the car parking, would be good to consider how EV charging points could be added. Not essential to start with probably, but worth leaving space for chargers, in terms of paths and planting (and maybe cable ducts under the path). Come 2030 car rule changes there might hopefully be more money (private or government) for installing chargers.

The car park design will incorporate provision for future EV charging points.

Are the parking spaces sized so people can get sports kit out both sides of the car (which are getting ever wider).

Car parking spaces will be sized to meet current highway standards with the necessary provision of disabled spaces also

The existing path made to the site doesn't match the drawing at the pond end?

The site plan is indicative at this stage

Myself and my husband have looked at the plans and what jumped out to me was the lack of a secondary space for family use. As a mother of three young children, it has been wonderful to attend a variety of children's stay and plays, Tumble Tots, Baby and Toddler Sense sessions with my children outside of Northstowe. I know the community wing has some space on the Pathfinder school site but I believe it would be fantastic to have facilities that cater for families as well as those participating in sport. We have also attended many private birthday parties, functions, fundraiser events, fitness classes, pottery classes, social clubs and community events at venues like the Northstowe Pavilion.

Whilst we acknowledge that 'secondary space' would be a benefit the site & budget constraints are such that we are at the limit of what floor area can be provided and there is no space that can be 'given up' for alternate use.

Can we have CCTV on our communal buildings. For example Links Lane has antisocial behaviour and will be next to the phase 1 community centre.

Security provision will be addressed in the specification for the building and is likely to include a form of monitoring both inside & outside the building.

The pavilion: are there any expectations or limits on the hours of operation?

The hours of operation are to be agreed. However, early modelling suggests the pavilion building may need to service use of the pitches (including the floodlit Artificial Turf Pitch) between 9AM and 10PM Monday to Friday and Weekends 9AM - 6PM. Given that the clubroom will likely be made available for group activities and functions, evening operating hours across the week may extend further.

Will the car park be lit? If so, is the lighting design considerate of surrounding housing (e.g. low level)?

The car park will be lit and will not be intrusive to the residential areas.

(If it is not covered already) What are the next steps for the submission of the planning application?

The planning application will be submitted in the near future once the design team have considered the points raised in this 'review'.

Is the club room available for general hire ?

We anticipate the club room will be available for general hire.

Could we have solar panels on the roof ? Sedum /eco roof ?

Solar panels are being considered for the roof area.

Will the hall have enough space for a badminton court ? Is there going to be enough room for that safely ?

The club room is sized to accommodate a badminton court with sufficient margin around.

Can you detail which elements (e.g. PV panels) may not be included at this time due to budget constraints, and whether it may be possible to retrofit such features to the building should additional funding be sourced from the council or community?

Currently it is envisaged the building will incorporate PV panels to the roof, heating & cooling by air source heat pump, LED low voltage lighting and rainwater recycling. Should additional funding become available additional elements will be considered.

“As well as there being grassed areas and planting beds adjacent to the building there will be a paved area adjacent to the clubroom that will be suitable for outdoor social events associated with the various sports clubs that will use the pavilion.” – Will this be sheltered area?

At present there are no plans to make this a sheltered area. Once the building is operational and it is deemed a requirement there is the option to retrofit.

Please consider having baby-friendly facilities to facilitate the use of sports facilities and encourage healthy life style to parents of young children (e.g. staying active can help with post-natal depression!). This will mostly relate small things/equipment like seats and changing facilities in toilets, but also allocating space.

This point is noted and will be considered when finalising the internal fit out specification.

Will we have to wait to use the MUGA space and rugby courts and pitches until building is ready?

We are working with L&Q and the Open Space steering group to establish management arrangements for the Sports Pitches prior to the pavilion opening.

Western Park football pitches: what is the planned use regime of these? It has been great to be able to use such green space for walks, runs, cycles, yoga particularly during lockdown and whilst practically none of the green spaces have been ready for use around Northstowe or are full of mud. Will it still be possible to go for walks in this space or will it be reserved for football only? (There seem to be another considerable number of football pitches planned by the Educational Campus… how many are enough?!)

The quantity of sports pitches at the Western Park, in common with all indoor and outdoor sports provision across the new town, is related to the expected population and the demand likely to be generated for sports facilities. These requirements are factored into our planning requirements for the development to ensure it will be properly served. The sports pitches are designed for a specific purpose and not to accommodate general recreation. There will be generous quantities of open space coming forward for walking, including the Phase 1 Waterpark which L&Q have stated is likely to be accessible from late spring/early summer 2021.

Any thoughts around how we could make the pavilion digital focused (capabilities for events), so that it could be a venue for hire, where community meetings and can be hired to companies or even a space where people may rent a desk

Thank you for your suggestion. This can be considered for the fit-out stage, and can be catered for in the building specification.

Why it was chosen to have a Bowls Green in a community that is oriented towards young families… is there demand for this sport? That space is of use exclusive of this sport (which most of the time will not be used as is grass), whilst the MUGA courts by the side have to combine several sports.

It is a Sport England requirement that the entirety of the population of the new town is catered for.  Lawn bowls can offer an opportunity for intergenerational activity.  Please see Bowls England for more information.

Is there any way of building some areas for pick up/drop off for parents, Northstowe Secondary School have devised a roundabout to keep the traffic moving for pick up times.

The car park layout and open frontage of the pavilion is considered adequate for 'drop off' arrangements.

A bus stop has been provided on Wellington Road for coaches to be able to stop easily, and allow visiting teams to walk along the Northern Greenway to the Pavilion.

The overall height of the building. The building will be to the South of our property, so to prevent the blocking of sunlight to the southern aspect of ours and neighbouring properties, we request that consideration is given to keeping the overall height of the building to a minimum.

The building is single story, and approximately 5 meters in height. The pitch of the roof will be shallow allowing the height to be kept to a minimum. 

The height of the surrounding ground level and access. The current ground level of the proposed site is higher than the ground level of the neighbouring residential properties and their gardens. In addition to the height of the building, we request that the impact on the neighbouring gardens be taken into account when planning the height of the parking and access routes around the proposed building. If these are situated at a higher level than the neighbouring gardens, then the gardens will be constantly overlooked by the users of the facility. Furthermore, pollution from vehicle exhausts and noise pollution from vehicle access would not be screened by the existing boundary fences situated at the lower level.

The houses on parcel H3 near the pavilion have been designed such that the rear gardens are not overlooked from the Pavilion.

Lighting and light pollution. No details have yet been provided of the proposed lighting of the building and surroundings. We would like to request that any lighting is planned with consideration for the nearby residents. In particular, that lighting is not excessive and is not directed towards the residential properties. This could perhaps be helped by the use of low-level lighting (bollards etc.) rather than high-level street lamps, so that excess light does not shine into the neighboring gardens or windows. This would also be in keeping with the lighting design of the nearby residential streets, where the majority of lighting comes from lighting bollards. We would also like to request that light pollution is minimised wherever possible. Lighting only directed where needed would be in keeping with the proposed environmental and sustainability goals and minimise the impact on the local wildlife.

The lighting specification will be written is such a way as to minimise light pollution. We do not anticipate the carpark lights being intrusive. 

Noise and disturbance is of particular concern as a neighbour to the proposed development. We would like to ensure that the intent to minimise noise disruption to the nearby residents remains a key focus of the planning process. For example, situating the main entrance, other access routes and the parts of the facility expected to be the most noisy (for example, club room) furthest from residential properties.

The club room on the side of the pavilion is the furthest away from housing.

Hours of operation. Although not related to planning the material structure of the facility, we would like to request that the possible disturbance to neighbouring properties be considered when deciding on the permitted hours of operation of the facility. For example, late-night or early morning activities that will result in noise from both the people taking part in the activities and vehicles accessing the facility next to our houses.

The hours of operation are to be agreed. However, early modelling suggests the pavilion building may need to service use of the pitches (including the floodlit Artificial Turf Pitch) between 9AM and 10PM Monday to Friday and Weekends 9AM - 6PM. Given that the clubroom will likely be made available for group activities and functions, evening operating hours across the week may extend further.

Please would you be able to advise when further details of the proposed development will be available, particularly the height, dimensions, elevation and lighting design, and where this information can be accessed?

Once the planning application is made all documents will be available on the planning portal.

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