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Planning Permission: Playing Fields

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many planning applications have been approved affecting playing field sites of (a) more than and (b) less than 0.4 hectares in each year since 2001-02; and if she will make a statement. (177054)

I have been asked to reply.

Sport England collect information on all planning applications affecting playing fields of 0.4 hectares or more through their status as a statutory consultee. The following table shows the number of approved planning applications for all years since 2001 for which we have published data. These figures do not necessarily represent the ‘threat’ to playing fields, as many applications are from clubs and schools wishing to improve the quality of their playing fields and sporting provision. The second column therefore shows the percentage of these applications that represent a benefit or no change to sporting provision.

Number of approved planning applications

Percentage representing a benefit or no change to sporting provision

2001-02

695

92

2002-03

807

90

2003-04

959

95

2004-05

910

95

Information on planning applications affecting playing fields of 0.2 hectares or under is not collected centrally. However, the Department for Communities and Local Government has committed to consulting this year on reducing from 0.4 hectares to 0.2 hectares the threshold at which Sport England must be consulted when a planning application for development is submitted.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when her Department plans to (a) consult on the proposals in the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 on playing fields of 0.2 hectares and above and (b) bring forward the changes recommended in the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 announced in her Department's press release Planning to Safeguard Open Spaces and Playing Fields of July 2002. (177055)

We are committed to reducing the threshold for statutory consultation on the sale of playing fields from 0.4 ha to 0.2 ha and this topic will be included in the consultation paper on the review of statutory consultees to be published in due course. We hope to bring forward amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 following consultation.