Playable Spaces Strategy

The Local Authority currently manages and maintains 292 play facilities across 163 sites through its Parks and Greenspaces Service. This number is predominantly made up of 150 fixed play equipped facilities, skate parks, Multi Use Games Areas (MUGA’s), single goal/ ball sports walls, 5 aside pitch goals and outdoor fitness trails.

Detailed District maps showing each play facility type:

All play facilities

Play areas

Ball games and Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs)

Outdoor fitness and trim trails

Wheeled sports



View play facilities in more detail by District Area:


The strategy aims to ensure there is a better mix of play spaces across the district so that there is provision close to the homes where younger children live, neighbourhood play facilities for older children as well as destination play facilities for everyone to enjoy like those being created in Lister Park.

It also aims to make sure play facilities address any inequalities of provision, are sustainable and achieve positive health outcomes for children.

VISION – ‘By investing to improve the District’s playable spaces, the Council seeks to provide a more proportionate and needs based offer, targeted and weighted wherever possible to address any inequalities of outdoor play opportunity for all the District’s children and young people’.

A Steering Group composed of internal and external stakeholders developed the following key principles approved by the Council’s Executive:

A – Ensure a needs based and proportionate investment toward the existing playable spaces ensuring that they are:

  • focused to deliver and achieve health and wellbeing outcomes and particularly a reduction in child obesity
  • targeted and weighted toward addressing inequalities of playable space opportunities
  • sustainable in terms of maintenance and repair

B – Accommodate the demand for the change in emphasis from providing traditional fixed play areas to create opportunities for more natural, informal and flexible playable spaces with opportunities for more community involvement and active play.

A change which will reflect both the changing aspirations of children and young people and also the initiatives and projects that other stakeholders are implementing within the District.

C – Deliver a hierarchy of playable spaces across the District which builds upon the existing offer from ‘Destination’ scale to ‘Doorstep’ level provision.

A hierarchy that is able to reflect and accommodate the changing demands and emphasis in providing children’s and young people’s playable spaces and facilitate higher levels of community involvement and active play:

  • Destination Playable Spaces: provide a diverse and inclusive offer aimed at all ages and needs from very young children, children who can play independently and older children / young people
  • Local and Neighbourhood Playable Spaces: provide, on a smaller and more limited scale, the same diverse and inclusive offer provision as the Destination provision listed above
  • Doorstep Playable Spaces: specifically provided to provide for more innovative use of small local spaces for younger children.
  • These will continue to incorporate other facilities such as Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs), wheeled sports, ball sports and outdoor fitness facilities.

D – Provide a strategic policy against which requests for new play facilities or proposals for housing development can be measured and assessed in an objective manner to ensure a needs based and proportionate distribution of facilities across all parts of the District.

The Strategy will aspire to achieve Fields in Trust (FIT) Standards which recommend that Equipped/ Designated Play Spaces be promoted in the form of:

  • Neighbourhood Equipped Areas for Play (NEAPs) aimed at older children – 1,000m walking distance from dwellings.
  • Locally Equipped Areas for Play (LEAPs) aimed at children who can go out to play independently – 400m walking distance from dwellings.
  • Local Areas for Play (LAPs) aimed at very young children – 100m walking distance from dwellings.

These categories will also accommodate other facilities such as Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs) and skateboard parks (700m from dwellings) and by the flexible play approach described above.

E – Work with key internal and external stakeholders to support and ensure alignment with current and proposed playable spaces related projects being co-delivered in the District.

These projects will provide an evidential basis for best practice to inform the strategy and enable the delivery model to benefit from any lessons learned from:

  • JU:MP the Bradford Local Delivery Pilot (LDP)
  • UNICEF Child Friendly City Programme
  • WELL BRADFORD: Green spaces, healthy places

F – Supports, delivers and or contributes against:

  • Better Health, Better Lives’, ‘A Great Start and Good Schools for All Our Children’ and ‘Safe, Clean and Active Communities’ outcomes.
  • Health and Wellbeing outcomes for children and young people.
  • Connecting People  and Place: A Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Bradford District 2018-2023’.
  • Healthy Place Principles which include ‘Children can play safely close to home’; the principles form the basis of a draft ‘Creating Healthy Places’.
  • The Open Spaces Assessment for the revised Local Plan where preferences were evidenced for greater natural play and for the current offer of play opportunities at varying scales.

Investment Programme

A £6.4m capital investment programme into improving the District’s playgrounds and outdoor fitness facilities has been approved by the Council’s Executive.

It is part of a £20m strategy to develop sports pitches and playable spaces to improve the health of the district with this programme focusing on the well-being and development of our children.

Lister Park is the first site to benefit with a £650,000 refit of its playground facilities with works currently on site and scheduled for completion for this summer. The new play area will not only include traditional play equipment but will offer opportunities to encourage more innovative, dynamic and active play with natural play elements.

Investment in other areas to deliver the outcomes of the Playable Spaces Strategy includes consultation with the strategies key partners, elected members, local community groups and users.