Playing fields provide a vital recreational resource for schools and local communities and a number of strong measures have been put forward because too many have been lost in the past and grassroots sport has suffered as a result.
The Government has dramatically reduced the overall number of sales of school playing fields, by introducing legislative changes for schools and improving checks to the planning system.
The new Planning Policy Guidance note, PPG17 ensures that:
- Local authorities must conduct an assessment of the playing fields needs of their communities before considering any application to sell a playing field
By law, Sport England must be consulted on all planning applications affecting playing fields, and their policy is to object to proposals unless there are exceptional circumstances.
The vast majority of disposals do not harm local sports provision, since they are in the main disused, replaced elsewhere in the area, or their sale enhances sports facilities through the building of a pavilion, sports hall or the like.