“What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?”

The well-read readers of this Blog will recognise these lines from ‘Leisure’ by W H Davies. An inspector deciding an appeal relating to a wakeboarding facility in Cambridgeshire seems to have a different understanding of the term ‘leisure’, however, (DCS Number 200-004-995). There was much discussion at the hearing regarding the issue of need for the development, the inspector recorded. This arose from Paragraph 28 of the NPPF which supports: rural leisure developments that benefit businesses, communities and visitors and respect the countryside; and the provision of tourist and visitor facilities where identified needs are not met by existing facilities in rural service centres. Accordingly, the question then arose as to whether the development would constitute a ‘leisure development’ or ‘visitor facility’.

The inspector took the view that the word leisure embodies the idea of enjoyment and physical activity, for example, a leisure centre. The Oxford dictionary, he noted, defines a ‘visitor’ as someone who is visiting a place or person. He thought that it does not invoke the same sense of physical activity as leisure. He was therefore satisfied that for the purposes of Paragraph 28 of the NPPF, the proposal would constitute a leisure development. It followed that there was no requirement to demonstrate either a need or demand for the development.

Leisure doesn’t involve standing and staring, then.

The following DCP chapter is relevant: 18.3

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