Planning applications

We have an established role providing advice and guidance to local authorities, sports clubs and other parties on a range of planning applications

As set out in Statutory Instrument 2015/595, local planning authorities are required to consult us on any planning application for development affecting playing field land.

The government, within its Planning Practice Guidance, also recommends that these authorities consult us on a number of other types of planning applications.  These include applications which would lead to the creation or loss of major sports facilities, major residential development (e.g. 300+ dwellings) and development which creates opportuities for sport (such as minerals proposals where sport may be an after use).

Further information

The following links provide further information on our engagement with, and assessment of, planning applications for development that:

We have a network of qualified town planners who carry out this role across the country. 

The information provided in the above links should help applicants and others understand our role in commenting on relevant planning applications. It also explains the information required to enable us to provide a substantive response to local planning authorities.

Please take the opportunity to read this information and consult the frequently asked questions. If you still have any queries regarding our role we would be pleased to offer pre-application advice where appropriate.

Aims and objectives

We assess applications against our PLanning for Sport Aims and Objectives along with our Playing Fields Policy and Guidance.

Sport England's aim in working with the planning system is to help provide places that maximise opportunities for sport and physical activity for all, enabling the already active to be more so and inactive to become active.

This aim is supported by three objectives:

  • Protect - To protect the right opportunities in the right places
  • Enhance - To enhance opportunities through better use of existing provision
  • Provide - To provide new opportunities to meet the needs of current and future generations

We may also look to assess applications against relevant government guidance including that contained in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

It is our view that to ensure informed decisions can be made on the range of planning applications listed above, local authorities should have a robust and up-to-date evidence base for sport in place, including a Playing Pitch Strategy. This view is supported by paragraphs 96 and 97 of the NPPF.

Therefore, when assessing the vast majority of planning applications on which it is consulted, we will first consider how an application fits with the evidence base for sport in place within the local area. 

Further information on our planning aims and objectives and considering sport in development management is available within Planning for Sport.

The following links and documents provide useful information and guidance which support our role in assessing and commenting on planning applications: