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Sports Club Planning Application Guide

About the Sports Club Planning Application Guide

We know that poor quality facilities are a significant barrier to increasing participation in sport at a grassroots level.

Unfortunately, when planning permission is required for new or enhanced facilities the planning system is often viewed as an obstacle, as opposed to a means of securing the best possible outcome. When approached incorrectly the planning system can result in frustration, financial loss and damaged relationships.

To help combat this we’ve updated our guide for sports clubs on making a planning application.

This guide is relevant to you if your club is thinking of doing one or more of the following:

  • Replacing or enhancing existing sports facilities
  • Building new sports facilities
  • Relocating to a new site
  • Holding a temporary or permanent sports event.

Coach helping young boy cycling on velodrome


The downloadable guide includes practical advice that will help clubs across the country prepare their case and planning application in order to maximise their chances of success. It provides step-by-step guidance on the five stages of applying for, and securing, planning permission.

The guide also highlights common considerations that are often central to the assessment of planning applications for new or enhanced sports facilities, and provides tips on how they can be addressed.

Developed with the support of David Lock Associates, the updated guide has benefited from the input of a range of organisations including Planning Aid England, National Governing Bodies of Sport, Local Planning Authorities, Active Partnerships, the Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.


    If community sports clubs want to attract and retain participants, they need to be able to offer high quality facilities to all their customers. That’s why it’s vital that we do all we can to help them navigate the planning system.

    Charles Johnston

    Director of property

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