Prior to the commencement of construction for Houlton School, a standard planning condition stipulated that a community use agreement (CUA) must be in place to ensure that the local community have access to the Sports England Sports Hall out of school hours. Urban&Civic’s community team took the view, however, that an off the shelf agreement wouldn’t do, as they wanted to protect the interest of our future residents by developing an agreement which considers the phasing of a large scale strategic development site. Given the extra investment that Urban&Civic made in enlarging the sports hall to Sports England Standards, we wanted a model which could respond to the future needs of the community and still allow The School Trust to operate a commercially viable school. Our approach specified that five years on from the opening of the school, the mix of use would be one third reserved for the Houlton Community, one third reserved for external organisations to provide activity to the Houlton Community, with the final third is for commercial organisations outside of Houlton who may wish to use the space.

In the first four years The Trust and School have full flexibility to let the sports hall to generate revenue without committing the space long-term which would prevent organisations such as the Houlton Football team (which is yet to be founded) from making a future booking. This partnership approach saw the document receive positive feedback from essential specialist sporting organisations in addition to the local borough council and is now regarded as a strong template for the future.

Houlton School has received lots of interest for bookings in the months prior to opening. Working in partnership to develop a Community Use Agreement provides a framework to priortise working with the community and accepting commercial bookings. As a school facility located in the heart of Houlton, we want the Sports England Sports Hall and other venues to be available to residents and other community interest groups for the benefit of the local community.”

Operations Lead for Houlton School