Aims and objectives

Delivering sport and recreation

Sport England promotes a planned approach to the provision of facilities and opportunities to participate in sport.  In doing so we add value to the work of others and help to deliver sustainable development goals through:

  • Recognising and taking full advantage of the unique role of sport and active recreation in contributing to a wide array of policy and community aspirations, including leisure, health and education.
  • Using sport and recreation as a fundamental part of the planning and delivery of sustainable communities.
  • The development of partnership working using sport and active recreation as a common interest.

In line with the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF para 73), and as presented in the diagram below, Sport England advocates that at the core of planning for sport should be a robust and up-to-date assessment of the needs for sport and active recreational facilities and opportunities for new provision. The results of the assessment should be developed into a clear strategy for meeting the identified needs, integrated into Forward Planning and applied within Development Management. By doing so the planning system will be able to meet the requirements of the NPPF, secure the considerable benefits that positive planning for sport can provide and help to meet Sport England’s planning objectives.

 Planning for Sport Diagram

In practice, our planning objectives are to:

  1. Protect existing facilities: Sport England seeks to help protect sports and recreational buildings and land including playing fields.  Sport England expects these to be retained or enhanced as part of any redevelopment unless an assessment has demonstrated that there is an excess of provision and they are surplus to requirements, or clear evidence supports their relocation. Sport England is a statutory consultee on all planning applications affecting playing field land and will object to such an application unless one of five exceptions applies.
  2. Enhance the quality, accessibility and management of existing facilities: Sport England wishes to see the best use made of existing sports facilities through improving their quality, access and management. Sport England has developed a wide range of supporting advice on understanding and planning for facility provision, including efficient facility management such as community access to school sites.
  3. Provide new facilities to meet demand: Sport England seeks to ensure that communities have access to sufficient high quality sports facilities that are fit for purpose. Using evidence and advocacy, we help to guide investment into new facilities and the expansion of existing ones to meet new demands that cannot be met by existing provision.

For more details on our aims and objectives please see the accompanying guide.