Playing Field Safeguards Working
New figures released show more playing fields than ever are being protected thanks to Sport England’s role as statutory consultee on planning applications affecting playing fields.
1542 concluded planning applications affecting playing fields in 2009/10 resulted in improved or safeguarded sports provision, that’s 361 more than in the previous year (2008/09).
Landowners, including councils, are required to consult Sport England on any proposed development that would affect or lead to the loss of a sports playing field. Sport England objects to all applications unless the developer can prove it will improve or safeguard sports provision.
The figures released by Sport England show:
- 1542 out of 1631 (94.5%) concluded planning applications affecting playing fields in 2009/10 resulted in improved or safeguarded sports provision
- In more than half (53%) of the cases where Sport England originally objected to an application, further negotiations led to an overall improvement in sports provision
- Of the 218 applications where we sustained our objection, 105 were either withdrawn by the applicants or refused planning permission.
- Despite formal objections from Sport England, the number of applications which led to a detrimental impact on sport was 89 (5.5%)
These figures include a change in the law which came into force in April 2009, which gave Sport England more power to protect playing fields by including mini pitches, often found at many primary schools. These were previously too small to qualify for protection.
Richard Lewis, Sport England’s Chair, said:
“Playing fields are often where many people have their first sporting experience and protecting them is vital. I’m pleased the latest figures again show that the safeguards that have been put in place are working.
“As well as our statutory consultee role on playing fields, we are also ensuring people will continue to have places to play sport through our Protecting Playing Fields fund. As part of our Olympic legacy programme, Places People Play, this fund is protecting and improving hundreds of playing fields across the country, making sure people have high-quality spaces to play sport and ensuring a lasting legacy beyond London 2012.”