Assessing Needs and Opportunities Guide

We have produced guidance on how to undertake a robust assessment of the need for indoor and outdoor sporting provision

It is primarily aimed at local authorities (LAs) and in part, is intended to replace the Government’s previous guidance document, Assessing Needs and Opportunities: A Companion Guide to PPG17 (2001).

What are the costs?

The guidance document is free to download from our website.

The cost/resource required to undertake an assessment will vary depending on a number of factors including the purpose of the assessment and the capacity of the body leading the assessment (e.g. a LA) to undertake all or elements of the work in-house.   Taking time to prepare and tailor the work well, including developing a collaborative approach from the start and an early understanding of who can assist, will ensure the best use of available resources and keep costs to a minimum.

What can it be used for?

The guidance can be used to develop a robust assessment of needs and opportunities for indoor and outdoor sports facilities for a variety of purposes.

What will it tell me?

We believe that providing the right facilities in the right place is central to enabling people to play sport and maintain and grow participation.

An assessment of need will provide a clear understanding of what is required in an area. This will provide a sound basis on which to develop and apply policy and a strategy for sports facilities, along with making informed sports development, planning and facility investment decisions.

The guide focuses on the practicalities of producing a clear and robust assessment to help develop and apply local planning policy. The guide will therefore assist LAs with meeting the requirements of the Government's National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph73). The approach has been developed so that it can be tailored to apply to a range of sports facilities.

The approach set out in the guide can also be applied proportionately to assist a number of other potiential users (e.g. developing a facility strategy and  shaping, developing and assessing funding bids and planning applications).

What won't it tell me?

The guide sets out a recommended approach to undertaking an assessment. It does not in itself provide information on the needs of an area of the adequacy of provision.

Where can I find out more?

More information can be found here.

Contact a Sport England Relationship Manager (Facilities and Planning) or Planning Manager in the relevant local outreach team or email: