Help defend your sport and recreational facilities

The Sports and Recreation Alliance is appealing to all fans and participants of community sports to help safeguard the country’s open spaces in the face of government changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The draft NPPF, which is currently open to consultation, seeks to simplify existing guidance with the aim of stimulation economic growth, and applies to most planning decisions at local and neighbourhood level.

However, the new draft provides little protection to sports and recreational facilities, and developers can choose to ignore the proposals entirely if their plans provide an economic benefit.

The impact of this is that our open spaces and sports and recreational grounds will become far more vulnerable to development, with playing fields particularly at risk as there will be no mandate for developers to provide like-for-like replacements.

The Sports and Recreation Alliance believes that community sport and recreation should be protected in the new NPPF, and that like-for-like facilities must be provided by developers whenever a valued local facility is removed.

In order to make your voices heard on this issue, use the Sports and Recreation Alliance’s Write to Your MP tool and include the following text:

‘The Government is pressing ahead with plans to re-prioritise the planning system by encouraging more development at the expense of open space and sport and recreation facilities. The draft Framework will allow facilities to be built on if the ‘benefits outweigh the loss’. This position will make open space and facilities vulnerable to ‘change of use’ applications which could significantly increase the cost of land. There is also no mention of playing fields despite assurances that they would be afforded greater protection.

‘We want to see greater protection for valuable facilities by ensuring that if a decision is taken to build on a facility a replacement is provided. This will bring planning policy in line with current levels of protection.’

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