Playing Pitch Strategy Guidance

Sport England’s Playing Pitch Strategy Guidance (2013) provides a recommended step-by-step approach to developing and delivering a playing pitch strategy (PPS).

Covering both natural and artificial grass pitches, the guidance document has been developed by Sport England in partnership with:

  • The Football Association
  • England and Wales Cricket Board
  • Rugby Football Union
  • Rugby Football League
  • England Hockey Board.

The document replaces the previous 2003 guidance document, Towards a Level Playing Field: A Guide to the Production of Playing Pitch Strategies.

What are the costs?

The guidance document is free to download from our website. The cost/resource required to undertake a PPS will vary depending on a number of factors including the capacity of a local authority to undertake all or parts of the work in-house. Taking time to prepare 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 help develop and deliver a robust PPS.

The existence of a robust and up-to-date PPS will enable informed and evidence-based decisions and actions to be made across a range of agendas including sports development, planning policy and planning applications, educational provision, funding, facility and asset management, public health and the management and maintenance of provision.

What will it tell me?

We believe that to ensure there is a good supply of high quality playing pitches and playing fields to meet the sporting needs of local communities, all local authority areas should have an up-to-date PPS. By providing valuable evidence and direction a PPS can be of significant benefit to a wide variety of parties and agendas.

Following the recommended approach will help to:

  • Enhance and maintain relationships between parties with an interest in playing pitch provision in an area
  • Ensure the best use of available resources to develop and deliver the strategy
  • Develop a locally specific and tailored approach
  • Understand the supply of and demand for pitches within an area
  • Assess and understand whether there is enough provision to meet both the current and future demand
  • Highlight the key findings and issues with the provision of playing pitches and ancillary facilities
  • Develop a strong area-, sport- and site-specific set of recommendations and action plan that a range of parties are committed to delivering
  • Co-ordinate current and future resources and investment in playing pitch provision in an area to secure the maximum benefit to sport and value for money
  • Ensure the strategy is kept robust and up-to-date.

Alongside the pitch sport national governing bodies (NGBs) listed above, we have set out an offer of support to local authorities developing and updating a PPS.

Good preparation and ensuring the approach is tailored to the study area is critical to the success of developing and delivering a PPS, and ensuring the best use of available resources. We, along with the NGBs, recommend that adequate time should be spent preparing the work (Stage A of the approach) prior to any brief being drafted and before tendering for any external consultancy support (if required).

What won't it tell me?

The guidance sets out a recommended approach and will not itself provide information on the adequacy of playing pitch provision in an area.

Where can I find out more?


Or contact a Sport England Relationship Manager (Facilities and Planning) or Planning Manager in the relevant local outreach team.

May 2014