It's also important for the overall quality of life and protection of the environment. However, as sport is a relatively low value land use, sports facilities are often under pressure from other forms of development.
Protecting sports facilities
Our 'protect' planning objective seeks to prevent the loss of sports facilities and land along with access to natural resources used for sport.
When assessing planning applications affecting existing sporting provision we are guided by:
- Its planning for sport aims and objectives
- Its development management guide
- The relevant government guidance (e.g. National Planning Policy Framework – particularly paragraph 97 see below)
- Any robust and up to date evidence base for sport that is in place within the local area (e.g. Playing Pitch and/or Sports Facility Strategy or wider open space strategy).
Alongside our planning aims and objectives, paragraph 97 of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework states that:
Existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land, including playing fields, should not be built on unless:
- an assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the open space, buildings or land to be surplus to requirements
- The loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location
- The development is for alternative sports and recreational provision, the needs for which clearly outweigh the loss.
We are also likely to take into account:
- Plans and strategies from the relevant sports national governing bodies
- Information available from Sport England’s planning tools and guidance (e.g. Facilities Planning Model)
- Our design and cost guidance in relation to any proposed replacement provision;
- Whether the site is a significant area for sport (SASP).
Depending on the nature of the application, we will also seek specific comments from the relevant sports national governing bodies.