LAPs, LEAPs and NEAPs: Creating Community Spaces

Playgrounds, parks, and other aesthetically pleasing open spaces are important selling points for new housing developments. They are critical to the development of healthy communities because they improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being.  Many local planning authorities emphasise the importance of a variety of both formal and informal outdoor spaces. These areas are referred to as LAPs, LEAPs, and NEAPs in the Fields In Trust. But what exactly does it all mean?

Fields In Trust developed the terms LAPs, LEAPs, and NEAPs to provide detailed technical guidance play in a variety of sectors. They are widely used by planners and play specialists alike, with many local planning authorities requiring the use of the guidance in new developments as part of their planning obligations.

LAP (Local Area of Play)

A LAP is primarily intended for younger children to encourage informal play and social interaction. The area is typically defined by low -level playground equipment and its proximity to a well-used pedestrian route. Seating and signage should be provided in this area. See more detailed technical guidance on our dedicated housing development page here.

Below our Area Manager Will Desborough takes a tour around this fantastic site in a new housing development in Cambridge which features, amongst other things, a Stockholm Plus unit from our new Big City Plus range of stainless steel junior multi-play units.


LEAP (Local Equipment Area for Play)

A LEAP playground, designed for children who are beginning to experience independent play, can provide a perfect space for children to play as well as peace of mind for parents and carers. It is recommended to provide a stimulating, challenging play experience with a minimum of six play experiences, whether these are natural elements such as boulders or formal playground equipment. This area should have seating, litter bins, and signage. See more detailed technical guidance on our dedicated housing development page here.

NEAP (Neighbourhood Equipped Area for Play)

NEAPs can often be combined with LEAPs to create a greater play provision. A NEAP play area’s equipment is primarily aimed at older children, but it should include a space for younger users, as well as stimulating challenging play opportunities with a minimum of eight play experiences. They are frequently combined with LEAPs to increase play provision. This area should have seating, litter bins, and signage.

For more detailed technical information on LAPs, LEAPs, and NEAPs, please visit our dedicated Architects & Housing Developers page.

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