Significant areas for sport

Significant areas for sport (SASPs) recognise the most important sites for individual sports.

These sites have been identified by the individual national governing bodies of sport in partnership with us.

SASPs identify and describe why the site is important to that sport and what specific features make the site special.

SASPs are intended not to be an at risk register but rather a recognition of the most important sporting sites in England. Two levels of SASP have been identified:

  • National SASP – sites which are of national importance to the sport
  • Regional SASP – sites which are of regional importance to the sport.

The list of SASPs is intended to be a living list, which will be reviewed periodically to ensure the most important sporting sites are included, and those that decline in importance are taken off.

Download the SASPs register

Additional sports will be added as they are identified by the individual national governing bodies of sport.

Why have SASPs?

We've been concerned that there is a lack of awareness of the most important sporting sites in England, and the significance these sites have to the individual sports.

There is a perception that there is poor recognition of our most important sporting sites in strategic planning documents, such as Regional Spatial Strategies and Local Development Frameworks.

It is essential that outside the sporting world, decisions are not taken without the knowledge of how important a particular sporting site is to that sport. The aim of SASPs is to help ensure that our most important sporting sites are fully recognised for the part they play in the delivery of individual sports.

What criteria are used to identify SASPs?

Criteria have been developed to provide a consistent approach to identifying nationally and regionally important SASPs.

To be recognized as a SASP, sites must be nationally or regionally important to the sport in terms of venue major events, elite training, heritage, scarcity, uniqueness, importance for mass participation or non-competitive use.

Sites do not need to meet all criteria, but need to be nationally, or regionally important for the sport for one or more of the criteria.

The criteria should be adjusted to reflect the nature of the sport. For instance, the heritage value will differ considerably between sports which are relatively 'young', to those sports which have been around for a long time.

National criteria

For sites to be designated a national SASP , they must meet one or more of the following criteria. Sites will NOT be expected to meet every criteria.

Competitions/events

The site has held international/national competitions or events and is sustainable in that it is in a location which provides the support facilities/ services necessary for that level of competition.

Training

The site has held national team or individual/group elite training for that sport or any of its disciplines, and is sustainable in that it is in a location which provides the support facilities/services necessary for that level of training.

Scarcity

The site is important because of its scarcity or rarity/uniqueness value and because it cannot be re-created at a different location.

Heritage

The site is important in heritage terms due to the longevity and continuity of use in that location by that sport and because it cannot be re-created at a different location.

Non-competitive users

The site is important to the non-competitive parts of that sport.

Number of Users

The site is important because of the numbers of participants from any level of that sport using it.

Facilities Strategy

The site has been identified as of international/national importance in that sport’s strategic planning documents.

Physical Characteristics

Identification of those characteristics, which if lost, would jeopardise the quality of the site.

Regional criteria

For sites to be designated a regional SASP , they must meet one or more of the following criteria. Sites will NOT be expected to meet every criteria.

Competitions/events

The site has held regional championships or events and an inter-regional standard of competition or event , and is sustainable in that it is in a location which provides the support facilities/services necessary for that level of competition or event.

Training

The site has held regional team training or events, or individual elite training or participation for that sport or any of its disciplines, and is sustainable in that it is in a location which provides the support facilities/services necessary for that level of training or event.

Scarcity

The site is the only facility or resource for participation in that sport or any of its disciplines, or one of a limited number of facilities, in that region.

Heritage

The site is important due to the longevity and continuity of use in that location by that sport and because it cannot be re-created at a different location.

Non-competitive users

The site is important to the non-competitive parts of that sport.

Facilities Strategy

The site has been identified as being regionally important in that sport’s strategic development plan documents.

Physical Characteristics

Identification of those characteristics, which if lost, would jeopardise the quality of the site.

Number of users

The site is important because of the numbers of people using it from any level of that sport.

How will they be used?

Listing our most important national and regional sporting sites, and why they are important, will ensure that discussions that could affect these sites are not taken without the knowledge and understanding of their importance and significance to sport. While SASP is not an ‘at risk’ register of sites, SASP recognition will give additional weight to the site's protection if the site becomes under threat.

We will promote the awareness of SASPs among partners and agencies that are producing strategic plans. These will include regional spatial strategies, land use development frameworks, managements plans, Whole Sport Plans, One Stop Plans and other sports development plans.

What is their status?

While SASPs do not carry a statutory status, they do carry the weight of being identified by the national governing bodies of sport as the most important sites for their sports, and also being acknowledged and supported by us.

What sports are covered?

Currently SASPs have been identified for canoeing, gliding, water-skiing. along with the recent addition of parachuting in 2009. The designation of SASPs can be applied to all sports. However, it is recognised as being more appropriate for sports that rely on natural environment locations due to their uniqueness and scarcity.

Who decides if a site is a SASP?

The sport's national governing body identifies sites that meet the designation criteria for national and regional important SASPs. We, in partnership with the NGB, verify that the sites meet the criteria. Once agreed, the site is then added to SASP register – which can be downloaded here.