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Sport England continues to protect the nation's playing fields!

Sport England continues to protect the nation’s playing fields – places that are crucial for sport and activity to thrive!

Sport England’s new figures reveal that their role as a statutory consultee on planning applications has protected 1,138 out of 1,200 playing fields. In many cases, Sport England not only secured playing fields but improved the facilities.

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 object to all applications unless the developer can prove it will improve or protect sports provision.

Figures show that in 2015/16:
95% of concluded planning applications resulted in improved or safeguarded sports provision;
In 46% of cases where Sport England originally objected to an application, 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Of the 120 applications where Sport England objected to applications, 49 were either withdrawn by the applicants or refused planning permission.

Despite objections during the planning process, 62 applications (5%) were approved by local planning authorities.   

"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,” says Sport England Property Director, Charles Johnston. "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.” 

Sport England’s Active Places data shows that across England there are 21,866 playing fields, containing a total of 70,381 pitches used for sports such as football, rugby and cricket.