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Sport England safeguards playing fields

More than 1,000 playing fields have been protected following objections to planning applications, according to Sport England.

Councils are required to consult Sport England on any proposed development that would affect or lead to the loss of a sports playing field. The organisation objects to all applications unless the developer can prove it will improve or protect sports provision.

Continuing protection

  • New figures show that its role as a statutory consultee on planning applications has protected 1,138 out of 1,200 playing fields.

  • In 2015/16 95% of concluded planning applications resulted in improved or safeguarded sports provision.

  • In almost half of cases (46%) where it originally objected to an application, Sport England’s intervention and further negotiations led to an overall improvement of the site.

  • Of the 120 applications where Sport England objected to applications, 49% were either withdrawn by the applicants or refused planning permission.

  • Just 62 applications (5%) were approved by local planning authorities despite Sport England’s objections.   

Vital to grass roots, life long sport

“Playing fields are a vital part of grassroots sport as they are often the place where young people have their first experience of sport and develop habits that will help keep them active through life. That is why our statutory role is so important. I’m pleased the latest figures show that the safeguards we have in place are continuing to work,” says property director Charles Johnston.

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