Sport England has welcomed plans announced by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to give further protection to sports buildings.

Under the proposals announced by Planning Minister Baroness Andrews, the new rules would mean that it is no longer possible to demolish a sports building without planning permission to do so, unless permission has been granted as part of a wider application for development. This will give local planning authorities greater control to protect the sports facilities in their area.

David Gent, interim Director of Regions at Sport England, said: “There have been a number of worrying cases where community sports facilities have been lost through development and the current legislation provides insufficient protection against such cases.  We need to start placing the same emphasis on safeguarding sports buildings as we now do with playing fields. The implementation of these proposals would help improve the protection awarded to sports buildings up and down the country and ensure that sport can remain at the heart of our communities.”

Sport England is a statutory consultee on planning applications relating to playing fields, however, it does not have the same power of objection over indoor sports facilities. Under the new proposals, the definition of sports buildings covered under the new protection includes swimming pools, ice rinks, gyms and other buildings for indoor and outdoor sports. 
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