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Playing fields continue to be protected

New figures show we continue to uphold our commitment to protecting and enhancing playing field provision.

10th December 2020

Our commitment to protecting playing fields means that 94% of all concluded planning applications in England have resulted in improved or safeguarded facilities.

The figures, released this morning, cover the period April 2018-March 2019 and highlight our enduring commitment to protect and enhance playing fields as part of our role as a statutory consultee on planning applications.

This means we must be consulted whenever anyone wants to develop on a playing field and we’ll always object if we believe sports provision in the community will be diminished as a result.

A man and a women set up the nets on a football goal before a game.

Today’s data shows:

94% (1,078 out of 1,144) of concluded planning applications affecting playing fields resulted in improved or safeguarded sports provision.

In 43% of the cases where we originally objected to an application, further negotiations led to an overall improvement in sports provision.

Of the 130 applications where we maintained our objection, 64 were either withdrawn by the applicants or refused planning permission.

Our head of planning, Nick Evans, said: “The figures we are releasing today showcase our continued commitment to protecting and enhancing playing fields as crucial spaces which help the nation be active.

“The impact of the pandemic this year has reaffirmed the importance of the availability and access to playing fields when it comes to grassroots sport and physical activity.

“Looking at grassroots sport in particular, the eagerness of so many to return to the sports and activities they enjoy so much shows why we, as Sport England, work so hard to maintain these spaces and why the development of more environments that help people be active will be a key focus within of our new 10-year strategy."

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