Sports Pitch Planning Permission

The inside track: tips for smooth planning permission on every project from 3G pitches to MUGAs

Amongst the multitude of exciting possibilities for the booming sport construction sector in the UK there’s one given: whether you’re building an external multi use games area on school grounds, undertaking a running track installation, building a brand new sports pitch with floodlighting, or investing in a residential tennis court, you’re likely to need planning permission. It’s a necessary process – but don’t let a little bit of paperwork put you off. The economic benefits of sport construction in today’s climate are well worth the effort.

These days planning permission is designed to be transparent and you can get excellent step by step advice on the formal logistics with Sport England’s new planning application guide. We’re here to help you ensure a happy outcome by letting you in on those extra tactics that don’t appear on any application form – but will help you to sail through the planning process with ease.

The people factor – involve your community in your sport construction

You already know that your school’s multi sports area or that brand new football pitch construction will bring opportunity and economic input to the surrounding community. But if your site has neighbours who might be affected by floodlighting, footfall, parking issues or noise, they might not initially appreciate the positives. So mitigate the risk by involving anyone who might be affected right from the start.

Human nature is a funny thing. It’s amazing how people love to be asked for their views. So before you apply to install football pitch lighting or extend a current health club with a new tennis court, consult your local community. Meet with them to share your plans at the first stage and outline all the wonderful benefits your sport construction will bring to their businesses and quality of life. Any particular concerns can then be ironed out before your application ever hits the  planning officer’s desk, and that officer will look favourably on the fact that you’ve taken the time to ask around and incorporate local views into your design.

Consider environmental solutions to enhance your sport construction

Now more than ever planning officers are impressed by clean, green construction projects that will benefit the environment as well as the economy. From floodlighting to sports field construction, it’s well worth considering whether you can bring a green edge to your project. If your construction is an indoor tennis court or MUGA, think about installing solar panels. It will not only cut fuel bills, but can actually make you money through the Government’s tariff and reward schemes – perfect if you have available roof space. Water saving toilet blocks and airblade dryers provide excellent user facilities whilst potentially cutting consumption by up to 80%. If you give demonstrable consideration to green issues you’ll impress the planners as well as adding value to your sport construction.

Be pro-active – build relationships and get your sport construction up and running in record time

Today’s environment is ripe for new sporting facilities from 3G pitches to high-tech synthetic sports surfaces.  To pick up on Britain’s sporting focus – fuelled by London 2012, high profile campaigns, and an enhanced focus on sport in the national curriculum – you’ll want to get going as soon as possible. So take responsibility for pushing the planning process forward.

Treat your planning officers well and build a good relationship with them right from the start. Make sure you’re in touch regularly to track what’s happening. Ask for advice: whether it’s a residential tennis court or a brand new all weather pitch the chances are your planning officers have dealt with similar projects in the past. Tap into the wealth of knowledge they’ve built up and you may find they have clever suggestions that could make your life easier. Although they are bound by rules planning officers do have a certain degree of discretion on their side, so a positive, pro-active relationship can only be a benefit if any little glitches do arise and need to be ironed out. What’s more it will serve you well when you decide to move onto your next sport construction and need their assistance again.

Of course the planning process is governed by rules and you need to adhere to them to be successful. But if you adopt these simple extra tactics to support your application you’re toe even more likely find yourself enjoying a seamless, pleasant process prior to and during your project. To help you get things underway why not use our online design tool to plan your tennis court, football pitch or multi use games area, and take a look at our useful guide to choosing the right surface for your sport construction for great specialist advice.