New playing fields planning guidance

New guidance on playing fields planning applications will help protect the spaces where people get active

13 March 2018

Young women playing lacrosse on a playing field

We’ve updated our policy and guidance on planning applications that affect playing fields in England. 

Our aim is to help protect and enhance opportunities for people to take part in sport and physical activity, while making it easier to develop and assess related applications for all – including applicants and local authorities.

Local planning authorities are required to consult with us on planning applications that affect playing field land, and our policy is to object to applications unless they meet one of five specific exceptions, which include:

  • The proposals will improve the use of a playing field for sport
  • Replacement playing field land is to be provided
  • There has been a robust assessment that demonstrates there is an excess of playing field land.

Our policy is consistent with the protection given to playing fields by the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework.

We’re urging applicants and local planning authorities to read our updated policy and guidance.

Read our updated guidance

Our overall aim and objectives in working with the planning system has also been updated.

By providing clearer advice, the guidance will help applicants, local planning authorities and others understand the role we play

Our Property Director, Charles Johnston, said: "Where necessary we'll object to applications, but we would much prefer to work collaboratively with applicants from the outset to look for opportunities to protect and enhance provision that make the process smoother, swifter and produces better results for everyone.

"By providing clearer and more detailed advice, the updated guidance will help applicants, local planning authorities and other parties understand our role and how we assess applications, along with the information we require."