Development management

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 the inactive to become active

To achieve this, our objectives are to seek to:

  • 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

Protecting, enhancing and providing opportunities to participate in sport is fundamental to creating sustainable communities. Therefore, we seek to ensure that the needs of sport are given appropriate consideration and significant weight in the development management process.

The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) makes the need for such consideration clear in its requirements to: deliver community and cultural facilities to meet local needs; protect existing sports and recreational buildings and land; guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services; promote mixed developments; plan positively to provide opportunities for outdoor sport in the Green Belt; and ensure that decisions are based on robust, up-to-date and relevant evidence.

For more details on development management please see the accompanying guide below.This guide provides advice on how sport should be considered by those involved in preparing, assessing and determining planning applications which either affect or propose sporting provision.

Our role in development management

We are a statutory consultee on planning applications affecting playing field land. The requirement to consult us covers all playing field land regardless of ownership and all playing pitches regardless of their surface (i.e. natural and artificial grass pitches).

Please see our Playing Fields Policy and Guidance document.

We are also a non-statutory consultee on a range of other sport-related planning applications along with those for major residential developments. We encourage and welcome early discussions with interested parties in the development management process at the pre-application stage. 

Further details of our statutory and non-statutory consultee roles are provided within the accompanying Development Management Guide and the Planning Applications page of our website.

We have a network of Planning Managers across the country who implement its development management and wider planning function. Contact details of the Planning Team are provided within the accompanying guide and our Planning Application pages.

We are currently working on an update of this guide which will be available later in 2018: